"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."
- Proverbs 19:11 NIV
Are you easily offended? If you are, you have plenty of company these days. Our society has made becoming offended a national pastime. It's almost as if we've made offense a virtue today. One example of this is the prevalence of “road rage.” One driver gets offended by another, and what began as a minor disagreement can escalate into a major conflict. But that's not God's way. Proverbs 19:11 (AMP) says: “Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.” In other words, the honorable thing to do in these situations is to refuse to become offended. Yes, you may have been wronged. And your feelings may have been hurt. But if you are a believer, God Himself has promised to be your Vindicator, and He will deal with those who treat you unfairly. (Psalm 135:14) Your job is to handle situations like these His way, not the world's way.
Psalm 119:165 (AMP) says, “Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.” If we are lovers and doers of God's Word, we will walk in peace, and we will not be easily offended. When the apostle Paul is describing the God-kind of love that believers are to demonstrate, he says: “Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].” (1 Corinthians 13:5 AMP) The next time you are tempted to take offense at something someone says to you, pray and ask the Lord, "Is there any truth to this, Lord? Do I need to make some changes here?" Then be honest with yourself and God, and let Him deal with you, if necessary.
Proverbs 18:19 (NLT) says, “An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.” Is there someone in your life, like a family member, who gets offended easily, and whom you have to deal with on a regular basis? People like these can be difficult to get along with because when they take offense, they refuse to listen to reason or to yield to attempts to make amends. We may not always be able to avoid offending these people, but there are a couple of things we can do. We can pray for them, and we can refuse to become offended ourselves. The reason taking offense is displeasing to God is that it's destructive to relationships. It divides people and causes conflict. It can break up families, friendships, and even churches. It's one of Satan's most valuable weapons against God's kingdom, and as believers, we are to be aware of his tactics so that we won't become his victims. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
Proverbs 17:9 (AMP) says, “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.” Every time we forgive an offense, we are preserving our relationships and slamming the door in the devil's face. Most of all, we are pleasing and glorifying the One Who deserves our very best!
Prayer: Lord, You know better than anyone how many opportunities to take offense I encounter each day. I ask that You give me the grace I need to resist becoming offended in these situations. Make me an example and an inspiration to others. Deal with me when I'm in the wrong, and I need to make some changes. When I suffer hurt, heal and comfort me the way that only You can. Thank You that by Your grace, I shall walk in peace!
- J. M. Farro