Proverbs 19:11, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Today in our modern culture people’s negative feelings have been given unprecedented attention through social media, reality TV, talk shows and customer ratings. Though people’s feelings are important in many aspects of life, at the same time, all this attention can lead some people to become “me-centered,” “hard to please” and “easily offended.”
For example, a person might get offended with a restaurant because their server brought them the wrong dish. In their offense they may write a harsh online review for all to read, not once considering the fact that the waiter might have been working a double shift, was up all night with their infant or had correctly served a hundred customers prior to their mistake. However, the offended customer doesn’t think about the server and makes their offense public by posting a scathing online review. I wonder how the offended customer would feel if every time they made a mistake on their job it was posted online.
Or imagine a pastor has a meeting on Sunday after church, but someone quickly steps in his way and asks for “five minutes” of his time. The pastor knows that someone else is already waiting for him because the meeting was scheduled in advance, so he then kindly responds to the person, “I’m sorry, I am not able to talk at this time, but if you would like my assistant can help you find another pastor on staff.” Consider if this member got offended and didn’t come back to the church and then told all their friends; “I’ve been going to that church for years, volunteering and giving of my finances, yet when I needed the pastor he couldn’t even give me five minutes of his time.”
The problem is the member refused to think about the pastor’s schedule, the others who were waiting in the office and all the previous times he and the church leadership were there for their family (funerals, baby dedications, counseling, etc). Just one disappointment turned to an offense that made them feel like the pastor and the church had deeply failed them- God have mercy! I wonder how this sassy saint would feel if they needed to be in an important meeting for their job and the pastor called and asked them to drop what they were doing and come to the church to do a task, that others not as busy as them could easily do.
Easily offended people lack self-awareness, maturity and godly compassion.
Today’s passage gives us the way to handle small offenses in life; overlook them. Consider the customer who received the wrong dish. All they had to do was forgive the waiter and ask them, “Is everything okay?” Now if the server gets an attitude and lacks professionalism they can ask to talk to a manager. And if the manager lacks good judgment they can write an honest review without harsh words and anger. But they should also be ready to drop the offense if the server gives a valid explanation and offers a sincere apology.
The same is true with the disgruntled church member. All they have to do is talk to the assistant and learn how appointments are made in the church. And after hearing the protocol they can drop the offense and have their issue resolved in peace. However, if they don’t like the church’s protocols they can prayerfully ask God if they are in the right church and follow God’s leading without anger or resentment. Personally, even if they decided to find another church I would never recommend them leaving a bad review online or talking negative about the church because the issue didn’t involve blatant sin or teaching damnable doctrine.
Do you struggle with being easily offended? If so, pray this out loud, “Father, please forgive me for my selfishness, lack of maturity and short temper. Give me compassion and a loving heart for others, so I can see things from their point of view. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Are you easily offended?
- Repent if you have become touchy and hard to please. A wise man once said, “Those who make idols of themselves get angry when others don’t worship their idol of self like they do.”
- If you struggle with petty offenses ask mature people to help you know when an issue has grounds for correction or when it should be overlooked.
- Treat others how you would want to be treated.
One Year Reading Plan
Jeremiah 39:1-41:18, 2 Timothy 1:1-18, Psalm 90:1-91:16, & Proverbs 26:1-2. Click here to read online.