How You Can Forgive An Offense, Even When You Don’t Want To

Forgiveness is hard. We need the Lord's help to forgive even the smallest offense. Only at the foot of the cross is forgiveness easy.

How You Can Forgive An Offense, Even When You Don’t Want To

October 28, 2021

As I made my way to the self-check register, I paused to examine a bag of popcorn. Turning back toward the register, I noticed a young woman had stepped in front of me. Startled, I hadn’t realized pausing in line meant I stepped out of it

As I stood there, a bit dumbfounded, I caught her eye. Without so much as an, if you please, she offered, “If you need to go ahead of me, you can.” Thankfully, I mustered enough self-control to rein in my first response, which was something like, “Gee thanks! Mighty big of you to let me have my rightful place in line!” Instead, I replied, “Ummm… I think I was in front of you. But if you need to go first, please do.”

Without another word, or a glance my way, she did just that.

Fuming, I made my way home. I continued to seethe until I remembered this proverb:

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
     it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)

Sigh. Some verses in the Bible can be so difficult to put into practice. This proverb definitely challenges me. I’ve learned some serious offenses cannot be ignored; they must be addressed. But this Scripture tells me some offenses can, and should be, overlooked. The trick is knowing the difference. According to this proverb, wisdom will guide us. 

That day, a lack of wisdom wasn’t my problem. I knew I could (and should) ignore the offense. But I just didn’t want to do it. I’d been slighted and it didn’t feel fair.

In these situations, it helps me to know overlooking an offense does not mean denying it happened. It simply means deciding to forgive. It means refusing to hold a grudge or to allow bitterness to fester inside of me. 

So much easier said than done. An English poet, Alexander Pope coined the phrase: To err is human, to forgive divine. Forgiveness doesn’t come easy to any of us. Yet when we can forgive others, we become more like God. 

When Jesus taught His apostles they needed to forgive, even if the same person sinned against them multiple times in a day, they responded with, “‘Increase our faith!”’ (Luke 17:5 NIV). When we’ve been offended, our first instinct is not to forgive. To do that, we need His help. 

When modeling how to pray, Jesus included this very important phrase: 

And forgive us our debts
    as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 NIV)

Forgiveness comes naturally only when I stand at the foot of the cross. Knowing Jesus forgave all my offenses helps me decide to forgive others. When I can overlook an offense, God says it is to my glory. In other words, it brings me honor.  

As I continue down the road, I will have many more opportunities to overlook offenses. May I do so in honor of the One who continuously forgives me. Wherever your travels take you, I pray you can do the same. 

How You Can Forgive An Offense, Even When You Don’t Want To

October 28, 2021

Forgiveness is hard. We need the Lord's help to forgive even the smallest offense. Only at the foot of the cross is forgiveness easy.

As I made my way to the self-check register, I paused to examine a bag of popcorn. Turning back toward the register, I noticed a young woman had stepped in front of me. Startled, I hadn’t realized pausing in line meant I stepped out of it

As I stood there, a bit dumbfounded, I caught her eye. Without so much as an, if you please, she offered, “If you need to go ahead of me, you can.” Thankfully, I mustered enough self-control to rein in my first response, which was something like, “Gee thanks! Mighty big of you to let me have my rightful place in line!” Instead, I replied, “Ummm… I think I was in front of you. But if you need to go first, please do.”

Without another word, or a glance my way, she did just that.

Fuming, I made my way home. I continued to seethe until I remembered this proverb:

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
     it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)

Sigh. Some verses in the Bible can be so difficult to put into practice. This proverb definitely challenges me. I’ve learned some serious offenses cannot be ignored; they must be addressed. But this Scripture tells me some offenses can, and should be, overlooked. The trick is knowing the difference. According to this proverb, wisdom will guide us. 

That day, a lack of wisdom wasn’t my problem. I knew I could (and should) ignore the offense. But I just didn’t want to do it. I’d been slighted and it didn’t feel fair.

In these situations, it helps me to know overlooking an offense does not mean denying it happened. It simply means deciding to forgive. It means refusing to hold a grudge or to allow bitterness to fester inside of me. 

So much easier said than done. An English poet, Alexander Pope coined the phrase: To err is human, to forgive divine. Forgiveness doesn’t come easy to any of us. Yet when we can forgive others, we become more like God. 

When Jesus taught His apostles they needed to forgive, even if the same person sinned against them multiple times in a day, they responded with, “‘Increase our faith!”’ (Luke 17:5 NIV). When we’ve been offended, our first instinct is not to forgive. To do that, we need His help. 

When modeling how to pray, Jesus included this very important phrase: 

And forgive us our debts
    as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 NIV)

Forgiveness comes naturally only when I stand at the foot of the cross. Knowing Jesus forgave all my offenses helps me decide to forgive others. When I can overlook an offense, God says it is to my glory. In other words, it brings me honor.  

As I continue down the road, I will have many more opportunities to overlook offenses. May I do so in honor of the One who continuously forgives me. Wherever your travels take you, I pray you can do the same. 

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4 Comments

  1. Teresa on October 29, 2021 at 7:03 AM

    Shirley, I agree there are times when it is difficult to forgive and forget but a great reminder to let always put God first.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on November 4, 2021 at 8:56 PM

      Thank you, Teresa! I agree, we can only forgive when we put God first. 💕

  2. Armelle on November 6, 2021 at 4:11 AM

    Thank you Shirley for picking up an example of our daily life because it definitely starts here :).

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on November 9, 2021 at 3:21 PM

      You’re welcome. This is a lesson I needed as well. 💕

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