A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11, NIV
As a human walking this earth, you will inevitably suffer at some point from some sort of offense. Someone, somewhere, will say something to you or about you that really hurts you. Sometimes, it might be completely misunderstood—a miscommunication. Other times, it might be an opinion, not a fact, just a personal preference of no vital consequence. There are times, however, that the offense is a blatant lie about you. The lie may concern things you did not say or do, or twist something you said or did, but nonetheless, a lie. How do you respond when this happens? Have you ever confronted your accuser only to have it turn into an argument and an even bigger problem?
As an educator, it hurts even more when a parent of one of your students is the offender. You pour all of your energy, heart, and knowledge into your students—their child. So the wound is deep when you are accused or attacked under false pretenses.
We know that “two wrongs do not make a right.” Perhaps we should also note that our wrong response only adds ammunition to their accusation. We may have been completely innocent to begin with, but our angry retaliation may leave us looking guiltier than anything they said about us.
Over time, I have learned to handle offense by turning to Scripture:
A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17- 21
In my Bible, the title of Romans 12:9-21 is, “Love.” We often think of 1 Corinthians 13 as the “Love Chapter.” But this verse in Romans reminds us that obeying the command to, “Love our neighbor,” also means loving someone who hurts or curses you.
Psychology tells us that hurting people, hurt people. Look deeper and pray for God to show you the need, in your accuser. Ask Him to reveal the root of their hurt and how you can minister to them.
Lord, give us great wisdom, love, and strength not to just overlook, but to overcome offenses with love.
Copyright Kathy Branzell.
Kathy Branzell has a heart for encouraging Christian educators and currently serves as the President of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Prior to this role, she was the founder and president of Fellowship and Christian Encouragement (FACE) for Educators.