I recently ran across a scripture verse that might change my life. It’s in Proverbs, and it says “A person’s virtue is to overlook an offense.”
I need to hear that. Too often I want to bring the offense to light. I do it with the guise of trying to understand, or to find resolution… but are those my true motives? I wonder.
Another trick I use is convincing myself that I’m just doing what another Bible passage says, “speaking the truth in love.” But Proverbs tells me that, in some situations at least, the truly loving thing is to just give the other person a bye, as though it never happened.
Will this be a defining moment in my journey? I guess only time – and a few offenses – will tell.
(P.S. — Please read the comment, below, by “Deeply Flawed.” Very insightful.)
An “Amen” from the Desert Fathers (~4th Century)
A brother asked abba Poemen, “If I see my brother sin, is it right to say nothing about it?” The old man replied, “whenever we cover our brother’s sin, God will cover ours; whenever we tell people about our brother’s guilt, God will do the same about ours.”
A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, “Come, for everyone is waiting for you”. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, ” what is this, father?” The old man said to them, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.” When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.
A brother sinned and the priest ordered him to go out of the church; abba Bessarion got up and went out with him, saying, “I, too, am a sinner.”
That is an appropriate line to keep in our heads “I, too, am a sinner.”
“in some situations at least”
I think this is the defining phrase for me.
Such wisdom is needed to discern between the two; wisdom that only God can provide. But I would venture to say that the phrase could be worded… “in most situations”
We also need to be aware ~ which is the sin: the “offense” or “being offended”? In our society today (and in the 4th Century), we are so ready to point the finger. Anxious to hold someone accountable.
This proverb is a good reminder that our love should cover a multitude of sins.
I need a lot of people to read this post……I sure cause a good amount of offense.
Ouch! That one hurt. In a good way. I need to remember that Proverb. Especially after reading the comment from deeplyflawed. How easy it is to forget my own sins while being offended by someone else’s.