A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. - Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
It’s interesting to watch toddlers sitting in a room and playing together. For the most part, the experience is quite enjoyable. Watching them become completely absorbed in their task and eventually becoming “one” with their project is fascinating. They thoughtfully engineer an empire out of little blocks.
This peaceable experience, however, can instantly turn sour when one of the toddlers reaches across the floor to extract a building block from the unused pile of toys next to his neighboring builder. A quiet room becomes noisy. Dry eyes become wet. Accusations begin bellowing from the offended toddler – however unintelligible – and the empire falls.
Offenses like this occur every day. When someone reaches into our lives to expose an open wound, an insecurity, or fears of loss or uncertainty – our reactions can borderline those of irritated toddlers. How we respond to offenses says more about our Christian disposition than the endless amount of bible verses we can quote.
I don’t know many people who enjoy hanging around cry babies and spoiled toddlers. So let’s not imitate immaturity with our lives and faith. Let’s build Christian maturity by allowing offenses to fuel our faith – not stall it.
Becoming mature in faith means we are able to increase our wisdom and overlook offenses. You and I aren’t perfect, we hide stuff, and we fear things – maturity doesn’t make that go away. In fact, as we pursue God, we become higher value targets for offensive attacks. The world just doesn’t like Godly people.
As we come to terms with our imperfections and allow God to work in them and through them, we grow our Christian maturity.
God is big enough to handle those who offend us. He’s also big enough to give us patience and fruits of the spirit to love the offensive people around us. It takes a stronger man to love someone who is cursing us and cursing God than it does to attack back. God can handle the fight. Be strong, stand firm, and do not let the offenses rule your life.
THE RIGHT NEXT STEP
Get into an accountability group with one or two other guys. Let them know what offends you – be accountable to your reactions.
PRAY: God, give me the patience to deal with those things that offend me. Make plain the difference between things that offend me and things that offend you. And help me remember that You, God, are strong enough to handle those who offend you. Teach me to pray for those who offend me. Amen.