Saturday, October 10, 2009

Smudges and Grudges, and Immature Judges

“Overlook an offense and bond a friendship; fasten on to a slight and -- good-bye, friend!” (Proverbs 17:9, The Message).

It takes humility to overlook an offense; and maturity to let go of a slight. A proud man will take offense quickly, especially if he perceives that someone has deliberately crossed him.

The Bible says, “Only by pride cometh contention”(Pro.13:10). When a man's pride is insulted, hurt, or in any way belittled -- he will blow his lid; especially if he esteems himself more highly than he ought.

There are some people who hold onto a grudge for years, and severe their friendships over things that have largely been blown way out of proportion. The Bible calls it a “slight.” The word means something trivial. Yet to the offended party -- it is no small thing at all. They feel neglected, regarded with indifference, and treated with humiliating discourtesy.

Now, if someone has in fact treated another with humiliating discourtesy, then they should certainly make amends. But if it is only perceived in the mind of the offended party, that's another matter. It is at this point that the friendship now stands in jeopardy. For the person who holds onto the slight does so at the cost of impugning the other with undeserved guilt and shame -- pushing them farther and farther away with each passing day of brooding silence.

The results are devastating; for only God truly knows the great value of relationships within the Kingdom, and the tremendous advances they offer to the cause of Christ. Could this be one of the reasons the devil is ever on the prowl, seeking to use the covert work of whispering to separate the chiefest of friends?

“Can you believe he treated you that way?” the serpent hisses into the wounded heart. “Why, you deserve much better than that. If I were you, I would have nothing to do with that person ever again. That'll teach him!”

My advice? Take the high road when you are offended; let you love for your friend cover the error. Hold onto your friend -- they are worth far more to you that the grudge the devil is trying to bury into your heart.


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