Whenever two people spend time together the opportunity for rubbing each other in the wrong way multiples greatly. Everyone is a unique personality and sooner than later, something will happen in the relationship that is offensive. A harsh word, angry look, insensitive action, or personal choice will bug us. At that moment (and I am not referring to sin issues here) we have several options scripturally.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
We always have the choice to simply overlook the event and let it go. An honest evaluation of ourselves will reveal that we can be just as harsh, angry, unkind, as the next person can. Maybe the person was having a bad day or was simply not thinking. We do not have to react, but we can overlook.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7
We have to option to bear whatever offensive thing was done because of our love for this person and in light of God’s love for us. I believe this chapter also says something about love not being easily provoked or keeping a record of wrongs suffered, but I will leave that to you to read from the plaque we all have somewhere in our homes!
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:1-2
We can look out for the other person and think of them rather than how we are feeling at the moment of offense. We can bear with the failings of others and therefore practice the Golden Rule.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
We all like to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to our own actions, and we can and should do so to others when it comes down to theirs.
Another option when we are offended is to realize that the person that wounded us probably did not realize that they did so. We all have blind spots in our life and by nature, these are unseen. Jesus said it in a humorous way if we visually grasp what was spoken:
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? Matthew 7: 3-4
In my early days of following the Lord a comic team called, Isaac Air Freight did a routine with this Scripture that was painfully hilarious. The “Logger Family” had these huge beams sticking out of their eyes and they were always breaking windows and furniture as they attempted to help others see their faults, and it was funny to follow their experiences. Sort of. The painful realization of my own failures in this arena always seemed to spoil me from having too much fun at their expense.
Offenses will come and relationships will be tested. Love is our primary calling card to a lost and dying world; what do they read in our lives? Will we overlook offenses? Will we properly deal with sin issues? The instructions are clear; the only thing lacking is our obedience.
Many dear saints of God are paralyzed over events that happened to them decades ago. I am not dismissing the pain or heartache suffered, but it is time to move on into forgiveness. We can let go of the wounds of the past and embrace healing. We must learn to not let what happened to us in the past dictate what we will do or be in the future. God knows the pain and He understands the wounds. Jesus forgave the very ones that killed Him. Will we forgive the ones that hurt us? We have been forgiven a huge debt we could not pay; will we release those that have sinned against us? Maybe, just maybe it is time to move on in our love one for another