Offenses

Proverbs 19: 11, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offense.” I was quite offended by something this last weekend and carried my “woe is me, nobody loves me, I’m going to eat worms” plaque for a couple days. Yup, after the sun went down, I was chewing my bone. So this verse intrigues me. How does wisdom give me the patience to overlook an offense? The first thought is that with wisdom comes time and learning lessons over time. Little children, youth, wellll are not very patient. Remember worrying over who is the right person, what is the right job, when???? But now I more quickly realize that tomorrow comes when I am not so tired, not so worried, not so stressed and I will be able to understand the other better but also, given time, the other will grow and gain perspective. I had no idea what it was like to be “retirement age” and fear I owe my mother an apology when I get to heaven. “Time heals many wounds” is the secular saying. Time allows me to gain wisdom, be patient, and overlook offenses. Differently, this proverb does not say that wisdom automatically leads to forgiveness. Overlooking an offense is not necessarily forgiving an offense. Perhaps patience is the ability to experience an offense but then to set it aside in one’s mind or heart to see if the offense is symptomatic of a character flaw that needs to be recognized. My mother would say, “There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.” Patience in someway is allowing the other to grow from the offense even as I do. And the third things that come to mind is that often, it is not wise to respond “in the heat of the battle” but wait for a calmer time to discuss an issue when feelings aren’t so aroused. How does that apply today? I watch our news media scrabbling to respond and give the latest insight on Covid-19, election speeches, and economic predictions about our future. We are so very quick to find fault in someone we disagree with. One of the values I love about sacred space, Sabbath, church is the ability to sit in sacred space and be patient, seek forgiveness for sin, and search for eternal perspective. May you find the quiet place today to reflect with the Holy on those things that offend you. Blessings.

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