Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
What should you do when someone offends you? Over and over Scripture tells us to forgive and move on.
The Lord’s Prayer says “forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us.”
I Peter 4:8 states: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Jesus, when asked how often we should forgive, said “Seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22)
This may indeed be the hardest thing of all to do. To forgive someone, especially if that person is unrepentant, goes against our grain, doesn’t it? Where is the justice in that? Shouldn’t they be taught a lesson? If we keep forgiving, won’t that encourage them to keep on offending us, walking all over us? In a word- No.
There is a difference in forgiveness and forgetting. Forgiving is still loving the person even though you don’t like what they are doing. But until they repent and change their ways, one should not forget. Otherwise, how could you cover them also in prayer? To forgive opens the door for you to pray for them, and for yourself as the offended, that God will justly intervene, rectify the offense and heal the wounds.
Forgiving convicts, not condones. It covers the offense and gives the person a second chance, but that lays the responsibility back on the person who has offended you to change his or her ways. It sharpens their conscience whether they want to admit it or not. By covering over their sin with the blanket of love, you have exposed their soul.
“In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” Proverbs 25:22
The reward? Less pain, more love. So cover all with love – by covering it all in prayer. Then healing can begin, for you and perhaps for them as well.