The writer of Proverbs urges us to respond to offenses by giving evidence of the grace of God. Read these pairs of statements from a very wise man, and ask God to reveal how you responded the last time you were offended.
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11). Patience is wisdom, and wisdom lets an offense pass by without responding sinfully. Love keeps no record of wrongs suffered.
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32). It is better to be patient than warlike or contentious. A Spirit-controlled response wins battles.
An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel (Proverbs 18:19). A hostile relationship is hard to win back. Contention separates people into opposing sides. Jesus died to break down the dividing walls.
He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity (Proverbs 21:23). When our unguarded mouth gives vent to our unhealed heart, we unleash words that hurt deeply.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, Do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared (Proverbs 22:24-25). Don’t take personally the anger of angry people, or you will find yourself reacting to them in the same destructive way.
Calmness can lay great errors [offenses] to rest (Ecclesiastes 10:4). A quiet spirit will overcome great anger and turn aside the hurtful actions of others.
“Let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle (offense or occasion to fall) in your brother’s way” (Romans 14:13). Identify the redemptive purpose of Jesus in each situation and relationship. Our motivation is in the great forgiveness of Jesus. We overlook offenses because Jesus took our offenses and bore them to His cross.
“He was delivered over to death for our sins (offenses)” (Romans 4:25). Those who have been forgiven much will forgive much.
Author James O’Donnell knew sadness. His wife Lizzie was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and then heart failure. She also was the mother of their three boys.
He said, “The thought that she might enjoy sitting at Jesus’ feet in heaven was, frankly, of little delight to either of us. I deeply and dearly loved her.”
So what was it like during the daily battle to try to save her life? Every day they were filled with joy! Nothing taught them as much about the value of life as the reality that they might not have another tomorrow here on earth. But holding onto life, amidst devastation, requires courage, love and a huge dose of God’s grace.
Friend, God promises to never leave you or forsake you, no matter where your journey takes you.