|[Image by Dezz on Flickr]|
It's been three days now since it happened, and tonight I sit here by myself at our dining table. I watch him from afar, eating his dinner in front of the television. I look down on mine, pick up my spoon. My hand begins to shake, almost spilling the chili. I drop the spoon, look at him. He doesn't know. His chest rises and falls, matching the sinusoidal rhythm of the sounds of his laughter. It's that TV show again. The one that makes him bend over in unstoppable laughter.
"Can you believe this guy?"
"What guy?" I ask. There's no emotion in my voice. Inside, I'm writhing in suppressed fury.
"Samuel Gillinger," he says. "This guy's just hilarious, babe."
I nod my head nonchalantly. Who cares? I don't care about Gillinger. I've never cared. What I'm furious about is that the man who cares about Gillinger doesn't care about me. Can't he see that I'm on the dining table to be away from him? Can't he see that I don't care about what he's watching? Doesn't he know that all I can think of is what he said to me three days ago and how he hasn't apologized yet? How could he say those words? It's not too late to apologize. I'm here waiting with my spoon dipped in hot chilli soup. I'm seriously offended. Three days and forever.
* * * * *
The phrase "I'm offended" is all too familiar. Many times, we sweat the small stuff. We want to get offended at the slightest chance. It stimulates the attorney inside us, just dying to speak and lay out the court case. We want the jury to agree with us, to see the case from the eyes of an innocent victim.
1 Corinthians 13:5
"Love does not take offense," (Jerusalem bible)
"...is not easily provoked," (KJV).
"...is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrong," (NIV)
"...is not provoked, doth not impute evil," (YLT)
"...is not irritable," (ESV)
"...is not touchy or fretful or resentful," (The Amplified)
People who know how to shrug offenses off their shoulders are blessed. It might be hard, but it's something we all need to learn how to practice. If someone said or did something to hurt you, it doesn't necessarily mean he or she stopped loving you.
Don't be quick to receive an offense from your loved ones (or anybody for that matter). You might have been sincerely offended, but don't let the offense make a home in your body. Don't keep a journal of wrong-doings or mathematical imputations of accusations. There's no need. Let it go as soon as it comes. You'll go a long way in loving when you don't get offended easily.
1 Corinthians 13:8 emphasizes that "Love never fails." Why? Because love always wins in the end. Love is always the victor and never the loser. In fact, when you show love to an enemy the bible says that it's like "heaping a pile of burning coals on his head," (Romans 12:20). I think it's because it's the kind of genuine love that will drive them to repentance, such that they will reconsider their acts and run to your side to ask you to forgive them. Burning coals are fiery hot, who can bear them? Love drives a person to repentance. Not anger, not being touchy or fretful, not being easily provoked. But gentleness, kindness, and an easily forgiving heart are signs that you have a heart full of God's love.
[Love] Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)
Keep going to the end. It should not be a one-time thing, but your lifestyle-- a continuous lifestyle of not being easily angered. No one is saying it'll be easy, but living like this will take you places. It will also help you love just like God loves. Happy Monday, readers.