Monday, October 4, 2010

The Glory of Overlooking

Relationships are hard.

They're hard because people can be complicated, inconsistent, moody and opinionated. Also because we do dumb things sometimes. Insensitive things. And we have an ill-fated tendency to lash out at people when we feel threatened by them.

Despite these tendencies, the Bible calls us to live at peace with people. Part of that is knowing when to simply overlook an offense. In the example I shared in my devotion published at P31 today, a friend lashed out at me when I didn't agree with her plan of action. I wanted to save her what I felt would be a huge mistake. But she felt judged, or unsupported when I questioned her decision. She fired at me in anger.

She and I had known each other a long time. And I knew this was not the sort of thing to end our relationship over. She lost her cool in the heat of the moment and said some things she would no doubt later regret. But I've done that before.

I think it's biblical, when you feel transgressed against, to see if there is some log in your own eye that you have missed while fixating on the speck in your neighbor’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5). Let their mess up serve as a reminder to check our own eyes and our own actions. That doesn't excuse or make their actions just, it just keeps us from charging forward in a hypocritical manner!

In my flesh I certainly wanted to defend myself. I wanted to "hit back." But then again, I didn't really think she believed those things she said about me. Nor did I think she would continue saying them once she calmed down. And in my spirit I realized anything I'd say in that moment - in my own anger and defensiveness - I'm likely to regret. I'd be placing a log into my own eye, so instead I bit my tongue.

Sometimes we need to pause - mouth shut - long enough to ask:

•   Have I truly been wronged here, or am I just offended?

•   Is this person truly against me, or are we just not seeing eye-to-eye?

•   Are we arguing over a matter of personal preference, or a matter of scriptural right and wrong?

•   Does this have long-term ramifications, or is it something that'll likely not matter to either of us a month from now?

If it is an offense that can be overlooked, then the Bible says it is to your credit to do so.

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." ~ Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)

Of course, God doesn't expect us to remain quiet in every situation - He doesn't insist that we be a whipping post or a door mat to sin. Rather He calls to us to look clearly at situations and the relationships involved and proceed in ways that will bring truth, light and hopefully peace onto the scene - as much as it is up to us.

So if there is a relationship in your life you're struggling to grant grace in, or a transgression you need to overlook, leave a prayer request and I'll pray for you and for them. And if you can get your hands on my new book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know, chapters 4 & 7 might be of further help.


Thankful for the peace God can provides even in the face of strife.

PS. Did you know I'm giving away a Kindle E-reader? There is one day left to enter - click here.

42 comments:

  1. Please pray for me and my sister-in-law.

    kimber

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please pray for me and my brother. He is doing things that aren't right and I kept my mouth shut for a long time now - pray that God will show me how to handle the situation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Please pray for me, my husband - we are separated, and in the process of divorce, and our two daugters ages 20 and 17.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would so much appreciate prayer regarding my teenage daughter and me. I need discernment, wisdom, and self-control when it comes to holding my tongue or not.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I could so use prayer concerning my knee-jerk reaction to some of the decisions my senior in High School daughter is making. I am struggling with the whole "letting go" piece, and can feel our relationship becoming even more strained as she tries to spread her wings and fly. I need prayer for discernment, wisdom, and the ability to hold my tongue.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Please pray for my sister, Pattie and I. We recently lost our father and there has been so much hurt and angry words spewed from my mouth. She has taken something from his home that I had asked to have (we all had different things that we wanted) and continues to lie about it so that I mistrust all of my family members. I called each of them (there are seven of us) and asked who took the kitchen aide that I had asked for and nobody will admit taking it. I believe that it is Pattie who took the mixer because she has been making up stupid lies and she actually accused me or my children of taking the mixer. It is not the "thing" anymore, it is the lie and the mistrust. I am ashamed of my behavior toward her in the past. Now, we are just not speaking. This was a sister I have been very close to. I am so saddened. I feel like I have had two deaths in the past three months. My dad, who I miss so much, which I understand that God wanted him to come home. But this, with my sister, surpasses any kind of understanding. Why after a year of watching my dad suffer, do we have to suffer more with this senseless act?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Please pray for my daughterinlaw, Christina. This week she is looking at jailtime, for past unwise choices, she seems to continue to make. My son and her have been on and off for months, many,many bad things have happened, between them. They have 3 children, ages 4,6,and 9. The family is torn apart by all this, and their choices. I am praying for God's will in all of this and some days its hard to even breathe. I am holding on to God with all I can. Please, pray for us all? and I praise Him and Thank you! Kris

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm struggling to have a Godly heart with my adult step-daughter, who has moved back in with us. She is making poor decisions and not following the guidelines we set for her to live here, even stealing from us, and I'm so angry that I don't feel I can approach her with a balanced heart and my angry words would do no justice to God's attempts to work in her life. Instead I just don't speak to her, which isn't helpful either. We've asked her to move out, but it will still be months from now, so I do need help making it to that date. Please pray that any words I say are pleasing to the Lord and that my negative emotions don't overwhelm my ability to show Jesus to her in her time of great struggle.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My husband and I are going through some issues with our 19 year old daughter. Last night she left the house at 11:30 pm to go out with her boyfriend. She didn't tell me where she was going and left in bare feet and her sleeping attire. I had no idea where she went, I assumed that it was with her boyfriend. I called and told her to come home. By the time they got her I talked with GOd about what to say in this situation, and it all backfired. I told her boyfriend that it was not a great hour to pick someone up to go out. That they both should cool it with their relationship for a while. My daughter blew up at me in the middle of my driveway at 12:30 in the morning. She wants nothing to do with me and hates me. I am only trying to look out for her best interest. Please pray that I can have peace about this situation. She really said some hurtful things to me, I didn't retilate back to her. I only told her that I am only trying to parent her and love her. What else can I do but pray for her. I did apologize to her boyfriend so that he could sleep. She doesn't feel welcome in my home, and I have never made him feel that way. She says it is our fault. Please pray for our family.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My husband came home from working outdoors all day smelling like perfume. He was nasty to me when I asked him about it. Pray for him. Pray God will help me to know the truth from a lie.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Please pray for me and my brother - I am getting upset and angry with him for things he is doing in his life and things he is not doing in his children's lives.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Rachel,
    I liked your blog/devotion today - I have had similar experiences with conflict. But what really caught my eye was that you're a Communication instructor!! What do you teach? I am too - well, a T.A. at Eastern Michigan University and I teach Fundamentals of Public Speaking. Do you go to the NCA conference? If you do it would be cool to meet up for coffee or something.
    Sarah (strunny@yahoo.com)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Please pray for my relationship with my sister-in-law as well. She has treated me with so much anger over a situation that happened months ago. She continues to disrespect my husband in the process and made our wedding plans and the rehearsal dinner a somewhat miserable experience. I have tried talking to her with a mediator, but she got upset and stormed out. I feel that I have held my tongue over and over while she says hurtful things to me and continues to accuse me of things I didn't do. Pray that God would grant us wisdom and patience in the situation. Thank-you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for your blog. I am struggling with exactly what you wrote about - whether God wants me to let something with a friend go or confront her. It's hard to watch her live this "godly" life in front of others and realize the inconsistency with how she treated me in private. But when I think about all my own sin and inconsistencies I think it's best to be gracious and forgive her (something I've been doing almost daily for a month). It continue to challenge me though as she was very hurtful. It is hard for me to know if I should say something or not. She continues to treat me coldly and I continue to feel hurt.
    I feel her accusations were cruel and unfounded. Do I talk further with her or continue to pray that God will give me the grace to truly forgive her and love her again (without confronting). I'd appreciate your prayers for wisdom in this.
    Thanks.
    In a quandry...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Please pray for me & my family, that we would each guard our tongues in speech with one another and in honoring my parents in our communication with one another and esp. regarding relationships. Also, for me as I wait on the Lord to restore my relationship with Chris.Pray that there will be forgiveness and not repeating matters in our hearts and that our words would be edifying, building one another and family for His glory.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Please pray for me and my step-son in law. We are having a hard time just communicating. I have problems with the way he treats my step-daughter. He does not respect the fact that I count when it comes to family. I have become very bitter and angry and it shows every time I am in his presence. God help me give this anger up to you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wish I had overlooked. I wish I had turned to God first. I wish I had responded and not reacted. Please pray for me as I continue to pray for the person who hurt me and my struggle against bitterness when the friendship was not reconciled as I had hoped. Learning to overlook an offense and going to God continually with the hurt is something I am trying to do. Pray God will help me in all my relationships, especially within my own family.
    Thank you for your devotion today

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is a fantastic post, Rachel! Thank you!

    Could I ask for prayer for my family? My relationship with my in-laws feels strained & stressful.
    I haven't felt comfortable around them for several years.
    My BIL was diagnosed bi-polar around 15 years ago. Since then, they have focused solely on him and his wife (ignoring our kids & us). While we understand the importance of supporting them and helping them out....the neglect that our family has felt is painful.
    When we are able to visit with them everyone is
    completely on edge. We feel like they'd rather not see us at all.
    It hurts!
    We want to honor them. But how do we keep our hearts from aching?
    Family is tough!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I so appreciate your blog today and your P31 column. I am learning to "bite my tongue" in life-but when it comes to my husband I am a slow learner. I am showing our daughter the wrong way to respond, it has affected the way she treats her Dad and I know will have future repercussions in her relationships if I don't shut up!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for sharing your story and today verse. It was timely. I just attended my 40th class reunion after much heart-searching days. I went to make peace with my past, and I came home feeling so thankful that I went. I had grudges for 40 long years, blaming others for my insecurities and my home life. I discovered that other classmates had "hang-ups" too from their childhood, had experienced hardships, and that life is too short to hang on to those miserable ideas. Even though I accepted Christ as a teenager, my walk has been like a yo-yo. I thank God for a friend who encouraged me to go and to "let go" and I'm thankful for a God that can erase bad memories.

    I'll put this scripture in my Bible and on my mirror to be constant reminder:

    "If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
    Romans 12:18 (NIV)

    God bless you for being a reminder to do God's work!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Please pray for me and my husband, and our daughter. She has a friend that she spends all of her her time with and the other day, her friend's parents told her they cannot believe what a horrible impact our daughter has had on their daughter. That crushed our daughter's spirit. We have begun taking their daughter to church, and she is listening to christian music, she calls us when her mom is drinking, and when her parents are fighting, and we just want wisdom on the proper steps to take and to teach our daughter the right things to say and when to "hold your tongue" and none of us to lash out in anger or frustration. Please join us in prayer for wisdom and that neither of the girls would be hurt from this situation.

    ReplyDelete
  22. pls pray for me and a very important friend. This month will be a year since we are on non-speaking terms due to a heated argument, even though we've been in each other's lives for over 10 yrs now.The closer it gets to the 'date', the heavier my soul, heart and mind feel about not being able to fix the situation. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have a really hard time keeping myself from NOT being offended in several situations. My husband tells me I take offense too easily...and then I get worked up over things. Your devotional really helped me today, so thnak you!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow, this is exactly what I needed to hear today. My family was completely dysfunctional with communication and at times it seems I learned nothing from how much I did not like that, because I have done it myself and continue to deal with the repercussions of not controlling my tongue. Please pray for my family, but more so that I will learn to control my mouth. I pray that God will forgive me for the things I have said in the past that should not have been said and I pray also for forgiveness from those I said them to.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks for the great words. My husband can be very hurtful when he feels he has a right to voice his displeasure with me. So many times I am caught off guard and stand there like a deer in the headlights. I very seldom respond to his insensitive words-out loud that is. The horrible words going through my head make me ashamed, but he makes me so upset and angry that I just don't know what to do. Obviously, I am not very good at communicating with him. When I do try he says it's BS or just an excuse. What's the point when he thinks he is always right? He is not one to go to the Bible for anything. It has been like this throughout our 15 years of marriage. I guess my prayer request is to know how to respond; especially after biting my tongue for so many years. Should the prayer be for me or my husband. I really have no one to speak to so thanks for listening.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow - Ihave recently gone through the exact same issue. I confronted a relative about her daughter having an affair - Both parties were married to others and she ended up pregnant. 2 families were torn apart and I was verbally attacked in many terrible ways. I chose not to respond and my relationships are strained and very limited with these family members. I am praying God will help them be restored, but for now I am keeping my mouth shut with the help of God!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Please pray for my relationship with my half sister. Both my parents have dementia.They were living 500 miles away along with my mentally retarded brother. After a family decision, we brought them to live near us and I have been the one who has taken care of everything. They are now in a dementia care unit after several moves. My brother is in a group home. I am the one who organized and orchestrated all of their care, insurance changeovers medical needs, and legal procedures. My sister has 3 grown children who live nearby & have never gone to visit in the 8 months they have been here and my sister goes once every ten days or so for about an hour to appease her guilt.
    Meanwhile I go and take them out for ice cream, walk, bring them to my home to visit and try to bring joy to their otherwise lonely lives. I tell my sister how much they enjoy it thinking she may do the same but she never does. I and my husband and daughter are their sole source of support. Meanwhile my sister goes away on vacations once or twice a month and always says how busy she is. I am deeply angered by negligence, her lack of caring and support both for my parents and brother and for all the times she has stood by and watched me crumble without even so much as a phone call to offer support.
    It has caused a bitter root to fester in my heart and I have come so close to blowing my top at her but I haven't because of my love for the Lord and being obedient to Him. I have approached her & her husband about us being a team but there is no team. It hurts my parents as well and they are aware enough to know she never visits. Please pray for me to keep my mouth guarded as I don't want to sever my relationship with her or my nieces & nephews.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Please pray for me and my sister. I have returned home after 18 years of not living in Christ. She has prayed for 9 years for me to come home. I returned with a 2 month old and divorcing my husband. I know that I am sensitive but I believe I have come a long way this past year, especially growing in Christ. My sister tends to still see me as weak and not knowing anything at all. I am not stupid and hate feeling such whenever we talk. She is extremely A personality and I am the complete opposite. When I try to explain my feelings she immediately starts getting very defensive, so I just shut down. I have had issues with her becoming a leader in our church but was told that God uses broken people. I am so proud of her and what she has become and do not wish for this communication flaw to continue causing damage to our relationship with each other and with God. But I don't want to feel as if I'm the only one with issues. So lots of prayers will be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm asking prayer for my husband and I. I keep my mouth shut 99% of the time, while i listen to him control, curse, demand, etc. I do say things to him in love such as "please do not use Gods name in Vain. God is very good to us", etc. We desperately need prayer. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My husband and I aren't communicating well. I am not really sure we are communicating at all. I need courage to talk things through, but a large part of me still feels like the little girl whose family fell apart and got left behind. What if . . . ?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Mary E. CamposOctober 04, 2010

    I am in need of prayer for my sister-in-law and myself. I've been in the family for 25 yrs. It has been a year now that we have not spoken and my husband and I have sat down with her and her husband to figure out what the difference(s) are and try to resolve the issue to no avail. I believe I went with a spirit of humility and apologized for anything that I may have done/said. I am torn because this is my husband's only sister who lives in the same town with us. The rest of his family live in another state across the country. I know and stand on the fact that God is in control of ALL things and that there is NOTHING impossible for Him. I have asked the Lord to show me-me, that if I have done/said something to offend her to make me aware so that I can make the change and apologize..again. I thank you for your post and prayer!

    To God be the glory!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Love your post and your devotional today. I too have ben prompted by God to "keep my mouth closed" in a very painful situation. It has been very difficult but obedience is much more important than my comfort. Thank you for your honesty. It is a great encouragement and confirmation for me.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Looking for prayer for my deployed husband and I. Less than a week after the stroke of my father, he sent me both emails and chats requesting immoral acts that go far, far away from the covenant bond of marriage. Because I totally disagree with his requests, he has said that I am a "taker" (not meeting his needs) and he is going to take care of himself alone. He has put stipulations on love and recoiled any affection to me.
    It breaks my heart to see him struggling in his faith walk in such a way that dishonors his role as a husband and a child of Christ. It pains me to not feel honored and loved as his wife. The distance makes this situation even worse.
    As I struggle to help my family in the wake of my father's stroke, I lack the love and support of my husband, who I need to lead at this time, more than any. Please pray for me to know how to respond in this situation. I am conflicted, hurt and longing for peace.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Rachel
    I am not big on leaving comments on blogs, but today this happened to me. I was promoted to different position and my co-worker of 5 years felt threated by this. She wanted answers that I did not have. I tried to keep my mouth tame, but I was pushed to the point where I was sassy. Please pray for me & my new position (which by the way I am very excited about)that God will show me the correct way to handle not so fun situations.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I kindly ask for prayer for my dad's young girlfriend as she has made some very hurtful accusations about my fiance. I think it has something to do with retalliation toward me for finding her out when she cheated on my dad. She and my dad are alcoholics and it is still hard for me to accept his relationship with her because my sister and I never got to have a real father-daughter relationship with him as a result of divorce. I guess on my part, I have some jealous issues toward her as my dad continues his realtionship with her on and off..on and off for the past 3 years.my biggest issue is that my dad is 56 and she is 29. So, there are often times when she is jealous of the things my dad does for me and my family/children and has said hurtful things toward me because of that and this most recent accusation toward my fiance has hurt me very badly. My first thought is to hurt back as I know she has warrants and all I would have to do is call the local PD and she would be behind bars. But,I have hashed this out with my fiance as to what we should do about this as I know it would severely hurt my relationship with my dad if I do make that call. I've learned from previous situations with her that it's best to just watch and see what happens. My wish is for GOD to take control of this WHOLE situation for the better and this way I feel better with what GODs plan was when this all came about. I truly thank you for your prayer as I am wondering and waiting to see what GODs plan is for me. I feel like I have already made a beeter choice by asking for prayer first, rather than be hurtful. Biting my tongue...

    ReplyDelete
  36. Please pray for me and my sister. We are like oil to water.I really struggle to relate to her and find common ground.She is someone that does not like correction and will bite a persons head off-regardless of who it is without hesitation and to avoid being hurt I keep my distance.While we may be civil to each other I can't say that we really have a relationship.As a child of God I know I need to rectify that but I don't know how. Please pray that God will reveal ways to me in which I can reveal Christ to her in my life and that he will give me the courage and the strenght to do so

    ReplyDelete
  37. PLease pray for me regarding my son. I need discernment for knowing when to hold my tongue and when to address his behavior.

    He's only 9, and usually gets argumentative near the end of the day when we're both tired. I want home to be a reassuring place where he knows he's loved, not one where he & mom bicker and he feels angry.

    I so want him to grow into a man after God's heart, but I know I need to model that here and now.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Please pray for me with my children..I need wisdom and discernment to speak God's words to them or hold my tongue.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you for your inspirational devotional about "biting my tongue." My family is struggling right now with that unthinkable thing that happens in "other families." My father, who was a pastor before his death several years ago, is being falsely accused of horrible things by one of my sisters. That sister has had mental issues for years, compounded by an addiction to narcotic pain relievers (now has a morphine pump). She threatens with "more to come" when she is "ready to remember." These accusations are false. The rest of my family is struggling with the issue raised in your writing here--when is it best to bite your tongue and let God protect the innocent. So far, we have discontinued fellowship with her and have not lashed back except to say that we do not believe her. These "false memories" have destroyed our family, and it's very hard to know the "right" way to respond or not to respond--it's really tough, when the accused can no longer defend himself. Please pray for my family.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Please pray for me and a friend from chuch I did business with recently. She has said things to others about me and our business transaction that are not true. I haven't said anything (yet?) and am not sure if I should or not sure how to when I do, if I do. She's kind of a bully and a big-mouth and I am very quiet. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have work related trauma - drama and a teenage son who needs prayer. Thank you - Shari sent me to your blog today. mheard11@frontier.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. Please pray for me and my mother in law.

    ReplyDelete

Chime in.