The Choice Is Yours
Life presents plenty of opportunities to become frustrated and upset with people if you allow it. I’m sure you can think of at least one incident this week that opened the door for offense. When this happens, it’s easy to place the blame for your frustration and unhappiness on others—”Oh, I’m upset because that person was rude to me.” Or, “That person didn’t treat me fairly.” But the truth is, you are the only person who can determine your own happiness. You have a choice. You can either choose to be offended by people’s actions, or you can choose to trust God and overlook offenses.
For example, I have a friend who was supposed to meet another friend for lunch one day, but the woman never showed up and my friend wasn’t able to reach her by phone. I saw my friend who was stood up later that day, and I could tell she was upset about it. She thought the other woman’s actions were very inconsiderate. She told me, “I can’t believe her! It’s as if she doesn’t think my time is as important as hers.” The next day, she got a call from the woman she was supposed to have lunch with. “I’m so sorry!” she said. “Right as I was about to leave for our lunch appointment, I received a call that my mother was in a terrible car accident and rushed to the emergency room. I was so flustered I forgot to take my cell phone and figured I could call you from the hospital. But by the time I got there, I was so overwhelmed seeing my mother in such critical condition, talking to doctors and watching monitors—I completely forgot!” My friend immediately forgave her and was so sorry for not giving her the benefit of the doubt.
It all comes down to this: If you want other people to give you grace, then you must choose to extend grace to others. I love what author and speaker Tim Hansel often says: “Give people a break because everybody you meet today is carrying a heavy load.” And that’s true. We don’t know what people are dealing with in their personal lives; but we need each other, and we need to encourage and strengthen one another.
Today, don’t allow offense to drive a wedge in your relationships. Instead of drawing conclusions, always remember to keep your eyes on Jesus and give the people around you the same grace you receive from Him. Always believe the best of others and choose to give people the benefit of the doubt.
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)