Have you ever been offended by someone or had your feelings hurt? I’m pretty sure we could all say “Yes!”
One morning, many years ago, I arrived at the women’s Bible study I attended only to discover they were having a pot luck and no one had told me about it. It really hurt my feelings. I felt left out and angry. I went home offended.
My Bible study teacher recognized what was happening. The next time I saw her, she handed me an index card with this Scripture written on it:
“A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 NIV
I had never read that verse before. God was teaching me something new. I didn’t know it then, but it would be life changing.
One of Satan’s favorite ways to sabotage the work of the Church is to get Christians offended by one another. Maybe you were treated unfairly. Maybe someone did hurt your feelings. When you decide to overlook an offense you are defeating a scheme of the enemy!
“Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV
One of my favorite Bible characters is King David. Before he became king, he endured many trials. His determination to know and obey God formed his character until he was ready to serve as the king
One of the things he had to learn was to overlook offenses. There are many lessons to be learned from the story of David and Goliath. But I want to point out that before David slew the giant, he had three opportunities to be offended. How might this story have turned out differently if David would have given in to self-pity, hurt feelings, anger and resentment?
First, his brothers insulted him. David asked the men standing near him,
“What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
“Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 1 Samuel 17:26-30 NIV
Next, David is insulted by King Saul.
David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” (vs.32-33)
Finally, the giant insults David.
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” (vs. 41-44)
As most of us know, David killed the giant. David didn’t stand up for himself or justify himself. He overlooked the offenses and defeated the giant.
“Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult.” Proverbs 12:16 NIV
Once we understand that unforgiveness, anger, and resentment are the ploy of the enemy to stop us, we can rise up and refuse to be offended. We must not nurse the grudge or feed the hurt.
Refusing to be offended by other people is actually an act of mature love. The more love you have in your heart, the harder it is for someone to personally offend you. The less love you have in your heart, the more insecure you feel and the easier it is to offend you.Pastor Rick Warren
The next time you’re offended or hurt (especially if it happens at church), recognize it for what it is: the enemy’s trick! Love overlooks the offense!
For a deeper understanding of dealing with offenses, read this excellent article by Pastor Rick Warren. Love Overlooks Offenses
With Love, Cindy
Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?