I was at a meeting at our church to help mediate between two dear friends who just needed the opportunity to let God restore their hearts towards one another.
I had prepared my heart with the verse, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense,” found in Proverbs 19:11, which I never even needed to pull out, since my friends both entered the room eager to make amends and restore their fellowship.
Ah, what a sweet blessing to be part of and a beautiful reconciliation to behold!
After our meeting, while still in the church building, I decided to try to find the closet where our ministry of Compassion keeps clothing for our Safe Families ministry. The closet had recently been moved, and I had no idea where to find it. My family was taking in a four-month old baby the next day, and I needed baby boy clothes for what could be a 4-8 week placement.
Finding the Pastor of Compassion, he kindly volunteered to hunt down the building services manager, while I waited nearby.
Neither of them realized that, though I couldn’t see either of them, I could overhear the conversation between their phones echoing in the hallways near where I was waiting. One of them was on a speaker: “Ok. This really isn’t a very convenient time. Doesn’t she realize we have Kids Camp going on this week?” “Yeah, I understand, and I’m sorry. Could you maybe just meet her and let her in to the storage area?” A pause. “Yeah, sure. Send her over.”
My first thought, to my shame, was indignant pride. “Here we are trying to help this single mom and take in her baby. I can’t help that I need to get some of the clothes we keep here for this very purpose, and that they’re kept behind locked doors. The baby is coming tomorrow.”
“It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
The verse that I had taken note of to share earlier with my friends popped into my mind.
I felt embarrassed. Of course I should have thought of the fact that the Building Services crew were probably overworked with tons of extra jobs with over 1,000 kids doing their fun activities all over the building.
What if that was the verse my brother in Christ was thinking of regarding me, and what probably appeared as my own selfish insensitivity? He didn’t know about the baby coming into our home. He had no idea how our ministry worked; that the clothing I needed was in bins behind locked doors, to which he held the key.
He was helping me out by opening the door, and rather than seeing it from his perspective, I had been consumed with my own.
“It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” How often could we put this verse to use just within the space of a day? Many times, for sure! Assuming the best of one another, not seeking to find offense in the minor things that Satan would love to use to divide us. Being willing to overlook unintended ‘offenses’…it is to one’s glory not to focus on those and needlessly squeeze hurt from them.
God’s humor wasn’t lost on me as I thought about how I had readied my mind with that verse, intending to use it as a word of counsel for my friends, finding instead that God used it for my own heart that needed correcting!
“Forgive me, Lord, for my heart that is so easily offended. Please help me to more readily overlook offense, and to be grateful for those that overlook my offenses against them, too. In the powerful and precious Name of Your Son, Jesus, I ask, Amen.”