When Should I Overlook an Offense?
Please note that these are a summary of Ken Sande’s words found in the Peacemaking Church.
Because we are family, the Bible teaches us that we should see conflict neither as an inconvenience nor as an occasion to force our will on others, but rather as an opportunity to demonstrate the love and power of God in our lives. This is confirmed by 1 Cor. 10:31 – “do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble…” Thus conflict resolution done right is an opportunity to glorify God, serve others and to grow to be like Christ.
God has called us to be peacemakers as he has called us to be ambassadors. God delights to breathe his grace through peacemakers and to use people to dissipate anger, improve understanding, promote justice and encourage repentance and reconciliation.
When we are dealing with issues in our lives and facing conflict we must have an understanding of when to overlook an offense. The reason for this is that it would be impossible for us to deal with every known offense.
Know when to overlook an offense.
To live life in community and to glorify God, serve others and grow to be like Christ sometimes we need to overlook and offense. When seeking forgiveness we need to understand that forgiveness requires more than just judging one’s sin as there are times that an offense must be overlooked.
- Proverbs 19:11 – Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
- Proverbs 12:16 – The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.
God exercises kindness, long-suffering and patience toward us and therefore we should exercise kindness, long-suffering and patience toward others.
Romans 2:4 – Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Two diagnostic questions that can help us determine if we should overlook an offense.
- Is the offense a persistent sin, a habitual sin, or the result of bondage to a particular sin? While God encourages us to be long-suffering he never calls us to overlook habitual, hurtful sin that causes damage to ones self or to others.
- Is the offense hindering my relationship? If there has been a change in the way you view the other person or feel about the other person has changed then the offense should not be overlooked.
Use the 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
- If I am reticent to greet this fellow believer at church.