December 12, 2017

Pastoral Nuggets: Choosing Not To Be Offended

Proverbs 19:11(KJV) states, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”

The Aaron McCollough translation of that verse is: Smart people have learned both how to hold their tongue and the virtue of being able to forgive and forget.

In short, they’ve learned to make the choice not to be offended.

Regarding being offended and forgiving someone, I’ve heard many people make the statement, “Oh, I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget!”  Uh … excuse me!  If you’re not willing to forget, then you haven’t really forgiven!

Yes, I know that as human beings we come equipped with a memory.  (Although mine doesn’t work to well anymore!)  So, technically, I guess we cannot actually forget.

However, we can choose “not to recall.” Keep reading and I’ll tell you a story that illustrates my point –

In the early 1980’s I became the pastor of the Stovall Baptist Church. Mr. Jimmy and Clara Lee Scott were prominent members of the church. He was a deacon and they were involved in most every aspect of church life. They had about ten or eleven children. I used to hate for them to miss church!

Anyway, the first year I was there, wasn’t nothing doing but that the new preacher had to come to the Annual Scott Family Reunion. So, after the Sunday morning service, off me and my little family went to the Scott reunion. After a gloriously delightful meal, somebody came up with the idea that we should play a game of volleyball. Somebody drug a net out and them Scott’s began dividing up into two teams. Here again, there wasn’t nothing doing but the new preacher “had” to play.

At that time I would have been somewhere around twenty-three – twenty-five years old. So, I snatched my shoes off and went at it! Well, when they set the net up, somebody used a red brick for the backline marker on my side of the net.

In the heat of the game I forgot about that brick. Somebody hit the ball toward the backline. I tore out after it like a banshee. I “punted” that redbrick with my toe! It hurt so bad that it didn’t even hurt for about three seconds. But I just kept on running ‘cause I knew it was about to hurt something fierce! Sure enough, it did! I broke my toe!

As I sat there nursing my broken toe, all those Scott’s gathered around me. They said, “Preacher, we like you!” I asked, “Why?” They replied, “Anybody who can do something like that and not cuss, there’s got to be something to his religion!”

For about six weeks afterward, my toe found every leg on every table and chair in my house. And each time it did, it hurt all over again! I rehearsed my story over, and over, and over to anybody I could get to listen. But somewhere along the way the natural healing process started. I began to think less and less about my poor broken toe.

Now, will I always remember that I broke my toe? Oh yea! However, the only time I think about it now is when I’m using it to illustrate a point, just like in this article. And strangely enough, I’m laughing as I tell it!

I’m telling you that our lives will go a whole lot easier if we choose to live them as Solomon spoke about in this proverb. Let’s choose not to get offended. Let’s learn to hold our tongue. And if we do get offended, let’s choose to forgive and forget. The more we allow the healing process of forgiveness to take place, the less we’ll choose to recall, and the less we’ll hurt. I know this by personal experience!

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if all of us chose not to be offended?

Brother Aaron      

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