Verse: Proverbs 17:9
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
This is one of the most convicting Proverbs that I've read so far as we go on our journey through this ancient book of wisdom.
When someone hurts our feelings, offends us, or rubs us the wrong way, we have a choice. We can foster love, or we can foster division. We can look over an offense, or we can spread news of the offense. We can talk to the person, or we can talk to other people.
It seems so simple. But there is something in our human, sinful, nature that wants to tell others. There is something in us that wants to treat others differently than we'd want to be treated. What I mean is this: if we offend someone, or hurt their feelings, what do we hope they will do?
Of course we hope they won't go spreading gossip about us, right? Of course we want them to come to us so we can apologize and make things right. But when the shoe is on the other foot, our immediate reaction is to do the opposite of what we'd want them to do for us!
Maybe this is why Jesus, in Matthew 7:12, said "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
I think the reason it is difficult is that we are hurt. I think the presence of pain in our hearts and lives clouds our ability to treat others like we'd want them to treat us. The presence of pain often makes us long for justice of some kind. And we seek that justice through telling others, spreading the information, getting others to commiserate with us, and more—rather than trusting God with the justice. As Romans 12:19 says, "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord."
So when we are hurt, offended, or wronged, we have a choice. To seek revenge on our own by talking out of turn, and treating others the exact opposite of how we hope they'd treat us....or we can foster love and seek forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing.
God help me to see through the pain and find your path to healing and forgiveness.