Easily Offended?

from Justin Taylor by Justin Taylor

Are you easily offended? God can work on that. But at least we should be quick to forgive.

Ken Sande (The Peacemaker, p. 83), suggests that overlooking an offense is appropriate under two conditions.

First, the offense should not have created a wall between you and the other person or caused you to feel differently toward him or her for more than a short period of time.

Second the offense should not be causing serious harm to God’s reputation, to others, or to the offender. . . .

He explains that overlooking is active, not passive:

Overlooking is not a passive process in which you simply remain silent for the moment but file away the offense for later use against someone. That is actually a form of denial that can easily lead to brooding over the offense and building up internal bitterness and resentment that will eventually explode in anger.

Instead, overlooking is an active process that is inspired by God’s mercy through the gospel. To truly overlook an offense means to deliberately decide not to talk about it, dwell on it, or let it grow into pent-up bitterness.

If you cannot let go of an offense in this way, if it is too serious to overlook, or if it continues as part of a pattern in the other person’s life, then you will need to go and talk to the other person about it in a loving and constructive manner.

Proverbs 19:11: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

Proverbs 17:14: “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.”

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

Colossians 3:13: “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

On a related issue, see Kevin DeYoung’s excellent post today, “Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person.”

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