Seeds flowing off a dandelion illustrate what it means to overlook offense.

Overlook Offense: A Daily Meditation

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These days we’re constantly bombarded by a myriad of opinions and statements from various outlets. It’s increasingly common to encounter words or actions that offend us. However, the teachings of Jesus offer a profound alternative to the knee-jerk reactions of defensiveness and anger that often follow such offenses. But what would it look like if we began to overlook offense instead of brewing in it?

King Solomon poignantly embraces this message in Proverbs 19:11:

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” 

Proverbs 19:11

King Solomon imparts wisdom on the virtue of being slow to anger and the nobility found in overlooking offense. This concept not only challenges our natural inclinations but also invites us into a liberating lifestyle marked by peace and resilience.

The life and sacrifice of Jesus exemplify the ultimate model of overlooking offense. Despite the countless ways humanity has disregarded and dishonored Him, Jesus chose to respond not with offense but with the ultimate act of love—laying down His life for us. This example serves as a powerful reminder of the strength and grace that come from choosing forgiveness over resentment.

Picture the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea, as summarized in Psalm 78:13. “He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap.” Just as the Israelites passed through the waters without lingering, so too can we learn to experience offenses without allowing them to hold us captive. This perspective encourages us to view ourselves as mere travelers through moments of offense, neither dwelling in nor being defined by them.

To overlook an offense does not mean to ignore or dismiss the feelings involved. It means to consciously choose not to be governed by them. It involves recognizing the power we have, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to exhibit good sense—being slow to anger and quick to forgive. This approach reflects a deep confidence in Christ as our source of peace and guidance.

Reflecting on personal experiences of offense reveals a common theme: The situations that escalate in negativity are often those where we react impulsively. We don’t give ourselves or others the chance to truly understand the situation. This lack of patience and haste to speak leads to unnecessary anger and frustration. By contrast, when we pause to listen and understand before responding, we pave the way for more constructive and harmonious interactions.

To embody this wisdom, it’s essential to seek God’s assistance in cultivating a heart that’s slow to anger and inclined toward forgiveness.

In essence, the practice of overlooking offense is not just a matter of personal peace; it’s a testament to the confidence and trust we place in Christ. It’s a daily choice to embody the grace and forgiveness He has shown us, allowing us to live unburdened by the weight of anger and resentment. Consider the profound gift of overlooking offense as you strive to be slow to anger. May this choice bring you closer to the peace and freedom found in Christ.

Father God, I know it is glorious to overlook offense because it reflects the confidence I have in You as my peace-maker and steady guide. Help me consistently think about this proverb, enabling me to be slow to anger and quick to pass through ire. Thank you for Jesus and the example He set of overlooking my offenses, in order that I might be saved. I trust you, Lord! Amen.

Now listen to a short segment of this Abide meditation, “Overlook Offense,” based on Proverbs 19:11. Let the words sink into your heart and help you learn to overlook offense and experience greater peace.

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