How To Avoid Denial When Someone Offends You
My last post urged fighting anger by choosing magnanimous forgiveness whenever possible when someone sins against you.
Proverbs 19:11 applauds that kind of covering-a-multitude-of-sins love.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
Choosing to graciously forgive an offense with no need to confront the offender is a beautiful thing–a glory. And the gospel compels us to do so often.
There is, however, a danger worth noting inherent with this virtue.
In the name of overlooking we can actually shut down in silence and even file the offense away for later use.
Ken Sande rightly labeled that “a form of denial that can easily lead to brooding over the offense and building up an internal bitterness and resentment that will eventually explode in anger.”
I get this form of “peacefaking” all too well. My inherent loathing of conflict can deceive me into a faux-overlooking that is no glory at all.
Pastor Alfred Porier, in his excellent book The Peacemaking Pastor, prescribes two helpful diagnostic questions to help avoid this mistake.
Question #1: Is the Offense a Persistent Sin?
Galatians 6:1-2 speaks to this:
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens , and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Paul pictures someone sinning habitually as trapped like an animal in the wild. The law of Christ’s love demands a spiritual process of restoration for that person’s welfare to help free him from sin’s grip.
When you encounter an offense that is an ongoing, spiritual problem, it is no glory to overlook; it’s a lack of love.
Question #2: Is the Offense Hindering My Relationship?
If the matter keeps invading your thoughts and alters the way you interact with the offender, you likely need to address the situation in love.
Poirier gives himself a two-day test:
If I find myself frequently reflecting upon my brother’s or sister’s sin for more than two days, if it is there when I rise and when I go to sleep, if I think about it while I am showering and when I am driving, and if I am reticent to greet this fellow believer at church, then I cannot overlook the offense. I must address the matter with the person (139).
Either way–overlooking with magnanimous forgiveness or confronting with truth in love (Eph. 4:15)–fighting anger in the face of offenses is a matter of wisdom, choosing one or the other with God’s help.
Question: What’s another sign which helps you know when you cannot overlook an offense?
You can leave your comment below.