Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace at Last

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offence.
Proverbs 19 11.NIV

I remember as a young wife how easily I could call to mind all my husband’s shortcomings. With each new offence I lengthened the list. Every time my feelings were hurt I recounted a litany of grievances. I rehearsed that list often and knew it by heart.

I don’t do that so much anymore, and I see that as a sign of God’s love working in my heart. In fact, when I find myself starting that old score keeping process, I stop and ask myself if I have drifted from God’s side.

The writer of proverbs says “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offence.” I do know it is a good feeling to let go of things that others do to irritate you. It is even more freeing to let go of a real hurt.

Some years ago my husband was ill. Several people that we counted on to be supportive became very concerned with their own affairs and created a hardship for us.  I find it interesting that I had not thought of that in a couple of years. And I find joy and gratitude in my heart this day that something that happened so long ago has not poisoned my life with grievance. It could have, and many of you know exactly what I am talking about.

What is that particular hurt (or list of hurts for that matter) that is dominating your thinking right now?  Have you been rolling the bad taste of it around in your mouth? Have you been poking at it with your tongue daily (hourly?) to taste the hurt once again; to feel the injustice of it all; to savor the rightness of your position and the wrongness of the other person’s actions toward you?

Well, you may be enjoying your indignation, but the writer of Proverbs tells us there is glory in overlooking an offence. I’m not suggesting we can achieve this on our own. In the first chapter of Proverbs, we are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our ability to overlook an offence is possible only when we seek God’s power to forgive others. But the outcome is well worth giving up our self pity. When forgiveness is at work within us, we not only experience the peace that passes understanding, but we know for sure that Christ’s love is dwelling in us.

A man’s wisdom comes from God. This true wisdom brings patience and the ability to overlook offence. It is another of God’s wonderful gifts to His children. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it….not sit in misery nursing our grievance towards others who have caused us harm. And because of God’s power of forgiveness working in our hearts we can do just that.

 Peace at last.