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“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11). In moments of calm, the wise man’s counsel sounds so right, so sane. Overlooking offenses is our glory.
Then the offenses actually come, and we often find them too large to look over. The actual size of the offense often matters little. A spouse’s consistent faultfinding, a boss’s unfair criticism, a stranger’s unaccountable rudeness — given the right circumstances, any of these may rise up in front of us like a son of Anak, its shoulders stretching to heaven (Numbers 13:33). Peripherals blur, tunnel vision ensues, and we have eyes only for The Offense.
Sanity - Damage - Tone - Tone - Aggression
Even if sanity swiftly returns, the damage is often already done. We returned tone for tone, passive aggression for passive aggression, jab for jab. Or we restrained ourselves externally, but only as a small volcano erupted inside of us. Or we quietly smoldered, playing the incident on repeat the rest of the day.
Peter, writing to Christians familiar with offense, comes alongside Proverbs to show us a different way: “This is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (1 Peter 2:19). In three little words, Peter shares one of the keys to overlooking offenses great and small: we become mindful of God.
Words - Offense - Something - Offenses - God
In other words, we don’t focus on the offense itself. We don’t stare at something that merely distracts us from what’s really important. We certainly don’t look within ourselves. Rather, we overlook offenses by looking up to God, by becoming mindful of who he is for us in this very moment — in the office, at the dinner table, on the phone call, during the meeting.
To be sure, Peter’s readers were dealing with offenses more severe than the kind Westerners typically face: physical abuse...
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