November 14

Proverbs 18:19 19An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

19:11 11A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Jesus warned us that it would be impossible for offenses not to come. We can offend others with even a compliment. But when those offenses come our way, or we accidentally offend another, we have a difficult task before us. Jesus told us to love one another. Offense is one of the chief snares in keeping us from obeying that command. If we have offended someone, we will find the person is more unyielding than a fortified city. They think you meant to harm. To keep from being harmed again, they set up walls of distance, walls of distrust. Winning a fortified city was a long drawn out effort. That is what it takes to win someone we've offended. It is better to carefully guard our words than to win over someone who has been offended. Be prepared for the long haul and don't give up.

On the other hand, if you are the offended party, let wisdom give you patience. Often offense comes from misunderstanding. Clarify and understand the offender's words and motives. Give him time to see things differently. If it is pure animosity, be gracious enough to overlook it. You are more likely to win that person by refusing to be offended. Wisdom teaches us that to accept offense is to harm only our self. To receive an offense will only make the offender have a sense of justification. To overlook an offense protects your heart from bitterness and from the damage of words. That is easier said than done, but it helps to consider that it is the wise thing to do. It is to your glory. It is the example Jesus set for us.

Consider: Refuse to be offended. Endeavor not to offend.