Dealing with offences
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 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,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:7 that offences will come. We cannot avoid them. People will offend you intentionally or unintentionally. You will have plenty reasons to be bitter, angry or resentful. However, the scripture above admonishes us on how to deal with offences. For one thing it says we should not repay evil with evil. That is what the world would do. But we are not of the world. We are children of God and the bible says in Galatians 5:1 & 2 that we should be imitators of God and walk in love. We are to imitate what Jesus did when he was offended. While He was on the cross, Jesus prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Luke 23:24. It is not always easy but with God’s grace and the willingness to do what God wants, He will strengthen you to do the right thing when offended.
So what do you do when offended, the bible admonishes us to take the following steps:
- Speak to the one who offended you with a view to seeking reconciliation and not to further aggravate the situation. Let him or her know that his or her actions hurt you but you are willing to forgive and let go. 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. Matthew 18:15
- Be ready to forgive, whether they listen to you and apologize for hurting you or not so that God can forgive you your own trespasses and so that your prayers are not hindered. Mark 11:25 “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrong doings [against Him and others].”
- Do good to the person. The bible says in the scripture we read above “Do not repay anyone evil for evil…..but overcome evil with good” Romans 12: 17&21. Clear your heart and your conscience by doing good to the person when you find an opportunity to do so. Doing good can be as simple as not talking bad about the person or about what the person did to you.
- Pray for the person like Jesus did.
If you do all these things, you will indeed be like your Father who is in heaven and your Father Himself will reward you.