Cover and Forgive Offenses
August 27, 2019
As long as we live, we have to protect our heart against offenses. Unfair things happen, and people let us down and say things that hurt our feelings. These offenses try to take up residency in our heart, and if they do, they produce resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. People who have gone through a divorce or lost their career have been hurt deeply. But if they hold on to that hurt, the bitterness and poison become a part of who they are, and they just never move on from that festering pain.
Offenses in our life are very much like the irritant that invades an oyster. Most of us know that a pearl is formed through a process in an oyster, but what fascinates me is that the oyster is not trying to make a pearl. The oyster is trying to protect itself from an intruder, such as a parasite or grain of sand, that slips in between one of its two shells and the protective layer that cover its organs. To seal off the irritant, the oyster quickly covers it with layer upon layer of nacre, the mineral substance that fashions its shell, until the iridescent pearl is formed.
When someone says or does something hurtful to us, we have to seal off the harm of those irritants from our hearts. Proverbs 17:9 says, "He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love." You have to cover that offense. You have to forgive. It doesn't belong to you. It didn't originate with you. That offense came from that situation. It belongs to that person. It is not yours unless you take it in. It is only yours to forgive and to cover. The Scripture doesn't say that offenses won't come, but it tells us how to deal with an offense—cover it and forgive. The choice is ours. Don't let life's hurts get into your heart.
When the next offense comes to you, what are you going to do with it? Are you going to draw it into your life? Are you going to think over and over again about what that person said or what they did or didn't do? When you do that you're saying, "Offense, come on in. Be a part of who I am. Go deep inside." Don't do that. Rather, take a stand and say this: "Listen, I know who I am in Christ Jesus. I will not allow the hurt to get down into my heart. God, in the Name of Jesus, I am pushing this offense away. I forgive this person. I release the hurt. I release the pain, and I am free."