After spending a weekend in New York City, it felt like everyone was on edge and angry at each other. A light would turn green, and if the car in front didn’t move within a second, the other drivers would honk and yell. On one occasion, we were riding bikes and stopped at the light so we could turn. We were at the back of the crowd waiting when another bike rider flew past us yelling obscenities at us. My first thought was to roll my bike back into his to shut his foul mouth up. I’m human! I don’t know why he was angry or upset. Maybe he was late. Maybe something happened in his life. I don’t know. After the initial anger at him flared up, I got control of my feelings and crossed the street with neither of us physically or mentally hurt.
In 2 Samuel 16, King David’s son Absalom was coming to Jerusalem to take over the throne. Instead of fighting his son, David and a small army left town. As he crossed over the Mount of Olives, a descendant of King Saul followed along side them. He began to yell at King David and throwing stones at him. After a few minutes of name calling, one of David’s bodyguards requested permission to decapitate the man. David, had control of his feelings wouldn’t let him. He reminded him that the man had cause for being upset with him and said, “Perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today” (NLT). Instead of lashing out, he chose to not let it bother him.
Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” We need to give grace to people as we have received it. Offenses occur when we allow our feelings to get hurt or become angry at something an imperfect person has done. If you’re going to be around people, you’re going to get multiple opportunities to be offended by someone else’s faults. When we make allowances for people to be imperfect, we open ourselves up to show them undeserved grace. God is able to use that act to win them over. Remember that it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). God can use our kindness and grace as well. Instead of allowing ourselves to get riled up over our feelings, we should look for ways to offer grace. Remember we are to do unto others first as we would like them to do unto us.
Photo by Alex Green: