Posted By Nan

I have been at a Christian crisis telephone line conference all day and will be again tomorrow. This has come at the end of an extremely busy week, so I have not had time to write a blog for today. As I have mentioned before, I like to spend time praying and sitting with the scriptures before I write. As I do not have the time to do that I am going to write about a wonderful talk I heard today at the conference.
The talk was titled “Understand Me Understand You” and was about not taking offence. Of course there are times when the appropriate way to approach a potential offense causing situation is to communicate with the other person with a view to clearing a misunderstanding. However, there are some times when God has other ideas and wants us to overlook the offence.
In Proverbs 9:10 we read that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” NIV. From the speaker’s perspective, far too much attention is paid to the first half of the verse and too little attention is paid to the second part. Her contention is that knowing God helps us to understand ourselves and others.
God is knowable and approachable. It is His nature to be loving and accepting when we go to Him. God is love and also loveable. He also loves us. God is forgiving and forgives us through the blood of Jesus. He wants us to change our attitude and be willing to forgive. God is honest and capable.
If we know God, then we can be all these things. If we are all these things we can approach the behaviour of others with a different attitude.
Remember much offence is causing by misunderstanding. Usually, the misunderstanding is from our sense of shame. If we see a friend and they do not pay full attention to us, we frequently take offense. “They don’t like me anymore”. Is that accurate? Have I done anything to upset her? No? Then her behaviour is nothing to do with me.
Frequently we take that offense on board and become angry. As Mark Twain said: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” When I become angry with another person, the one I damage is myself.
God gives us a choice to choose between light and darkness, blessing or curse. Taking offense is the darkness and curse. As Proverbs 19:11 says: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offence” NIV.
So, the next time someone does something that could cause offence, CHOOSE not to take offence.
Be Patient. You feel offended, hurt and angry. Pray for patience. Godly wisdom helps you to have patience.
Watch what you say. In Isaiah 53:7 we are told that Jesus was oppressed and afflicted and led like a lamb to slaughter. “and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth” NIV. He watched what he said, and in that instance it was to be silent. Yet He did not do it in His own strength, He spent time in prayer asking God for help.
Look beyond the situation. Whatever you fix your eyes upon will multiply. As Jesus was led to His death He was not focused on the cross. Instead He focused on the joy set out before Him. May your focus be God. Psalm 8 is very pertinent here. Verse 1 praises God. Verse 2 states “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger” NIV.
Be a peacemaker. Choose to do that. Remember “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God” Matthew 5:9 NIV.
If we overlook an offense we are like the prudent man who overlooks an insult (Proverbs 12:16), we learn how to handle conflict and in the process we develop humility.
So forget the offense and determine not to recall it, nurse it and remember it.

 
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Nan
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