In the Internet article, “How Do You Respond When Someone Has Offended You?” author Brian Ford refers to a deep hurt he experienced. Without specifying the offense or the offender, he related how he became angry toward the person he believed had wronged him. Then, while reading the account of Joseph in Genesis (Chapters 37-40), he states, “God dealt with my heart.” After being betrayed and sold into slavery, Brian concluded, “If there was anyone that had just cause to be offended it was Joseph.” Yet, when reunited with his brethren years later, when he could have had them imprisoned, enslaved, or killed, Joseph chose forgiveness instead. This biblical example drew Brian away from the shores of bitterness and into the harbor of victorious forgiveness.
Yes, there is a season for everything under the sun, and, sometimes, it is necessary to correct the wrong when we are offended. However, most of the time there are better options. We who claim the name of Christ can choose to have three primary positive responses when offended by a wrong doer. Proverbs 19:11 counsels, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger: and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” The flesh wants to exact our pound of flesh from the one who hurts us or give them a piece of our mind. Yet God says it is a glory (an ornament, beauty, or honor) to let the offense pass without any action. Proverbs 17:14 gives us a wise motivation for not responding to an offence: “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention….” The point here is, once open strife begins between two parties, it quickly becomes like raging waters released in a flood. It destroys those in its path and carries them to places they don’t want to go. Finally, the best course of all is Ephesians 4:32, “…Be ye kind one to another…forgiving one another, even as God for Christ sake hath forgiven you.” This step is perhaps the most difficult of all. Yet, like Joseph of old and author Brian Ford, it is possible if we allow God to speak to and control our heart.
How will you choose to respond the next time you are wronged by someone? Purpose now to pass over it rather than giving Satan the victory. When strife has begun, let it end with you, and pray for God’s grace to simply forgive them. This would be real Christ-honoring transformation.
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