When was the last time you overlooked an offense? You know, when someone said something that got under your skin . . . when someone did something that really ticked you off. Perhaps it was the time someone changed their plans without telling you and that disrupted your plans. Or when someone put together a special invitation list that included everyone and his uncle—except you!
We’ve all been offended. And we have all offended others. Today I want to tell you about the Gospel power that helps us overlook offenses, regardless of the cost.
Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
It is so much easier to go on the offensive when we are offended! We build our case, review the record of wrongs, and plan our counterattack. But Scripture tells us there is another way that will yield better fruit, fruit that will last: that fruit is overlooking offenses.
To be sure, there are some offenses that demand our attention and our appropriate response. But I think we would all confess before the Lord that we are far too thin-skinned and ready to get back at those who have offended us, often in the most trifling matters.
Because it is not in our DNA to overlook offenses, we need to rest more securely in the truths of the Gospel. The Gospel frees us to overlook when we are offended and slighted. We can overlook the thoughtless mistake. We can overlook the quick quip. We can overlook the snide remark. We can overlook the rude comment. We can overlook the insidious insult. The Gospel not only empowers us to overlook offenses, it empowers us to stop trying to vindicate ourselves to the offender or the onlookers. In the eyes of the only One who truly matters, we are already vindicated by His blood poured out on Golgotha’s Hill.
Jesus endured every imaginable offense to make us His. He endured the offense of unbelief. He endured the offense of betrayal. He endured the offense of false accusations. He endured the offense of denial. He endured the offense of ridicule, gossip, and slander. He endured every offense, including cruel scourging, tearing thorns, and crushing nails. And at the end, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” So the Gospel is ready to help us endure and overlook offenses, and it will do it by a Gospel-thickening of our skin.
One final point! It is in our DNA to want to get back at those who have offended us. “Vengeance is mine!” says the one who was offended. But the glorious Gospel frees us from our incessant need to want to get even. Here is where the grace of forgiveness kicks in and allows us to pay down the debt of an offense rather than demanding that the offender pay it.
Only the Gospel can help us steward our emotions, actions, and words to respond to an offense in a way that glorifies God and brings good to others. Remember, overlooking offenses is a decision; and it is a decision we must make every time we are offended.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!