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Devotional Thought: Learning to Overlook

“Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” Proverbs 19: 11 (RSV) I really have a difficult time when unfair things happen. When I watch a movie in which injustice prevails, something in me is infuriated. When the “good guy” overcomes the “bad guy” I feel a sense of satisfaction. The sad reality is, even though I know violence is not the answer, if the “good guy” defeats the bad guy and uses violent means, I actually still feel like justice has won in the end. The problem is that this spills over into real life too. When someone says something, does something, or assumes something that is hurtful, I want vindication. I want them to know how unfairly they have treated me. I want them to be sorry. I want what they said or did to be undone. But it can’t be undone and I don’t like that about life. I want vindication, and if I were honest, sometimes I want revenge. But God calls us to forgive (Mk 11:25; Col 3:13) and to leave the “settling up” to him (Deut 32:35). As I thought about it the other day, I realized I didn’t like the idea of God settle things up for me because he would be more gracious than I feel they deserve. How do I know? Because he has been more gracious with me than I deserve. Proverbs 19: 11 reads, “Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (RSV). What if I spent more time overlooking offenses than counting them? What if I forgave as Christ has forgiven me? What if I extended grace to others in the same way that he has extended grace to me? I would probably carry less toxic bitterness in my heart if I learned to overlook an offense. I don’t know about you, but I want Christ to do a work in my heart that allows me to let stuff roll off my back. I don’t need to keep a running list of all the wrongs people have done to me. I would rather be free of that burden than go through life carrying it all the time. But here is a truth I know about myself: I can’t do it on my own. I need the Holy Spirit’s help. I need the “fruit of the Spirit” to be more and more cultivated in my life. Maybe you can relate. Maybe, like me, you need to ask God to help you let people “off the hook.” Maybe you need to forgive more and overlook offenses. I believe it is possible for God to change a heart. I invite you to join me in asking him to do that in our hearts today.

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