Have you ever been reading along in the Bible and suddenly you got pounded by the Holy Spirit? I always enjoy looking for “hidden treasure” in the Scripture, but there are times when it’s not hidden at all. I’ve read through Proverbs several times and it’s easy to see how you can get different insight each time you read. But, today it was very clear what God was teaching me through the reading of His Word.
Many of you reading this have gone through John Bevere’s “Bait of Satan” and you’ve heard him explain about offense. The bottom line is if we let ourselves be offended, we “take the bait” and satan has us in his trap. The fancy greek word for offense is actually related to a “bait stick” (the part of a trap where you put the cheese or meat to attract your catch). It’s a must-read for Christians and I highly recommend it. Find out more by clicking here.
John’s teaching on offense has been a life-changing revelation to me and has helped me through some difficult times. Today, God added some more understanding to this teaching. It’s simple and probably quite obvious but I guess I’m just now at the point I’m ready to receive it. What is it? Look at verse 9:
9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (NIV)9 Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love; telling about them separates close friends. (NLT)
You see, it’s not just about avoiding or not taking the bait. Our greatest commandment is to love and sometimes it’s about covering up the offense, not just ignoring it. Do you see this?
I’m not there yet, but I’m starting to get to the place where I can ignore it when someone does something I dislike: cutting me off in traffic, talking behind my back, telling lies about me. But it’s one thing to not let it bother me (so I’m not taking the bait) but it’s quite something else to actually attempt to hide (or at least not announce to the world) the offense. I am suddenly caught in the heavy realization that I sometimes take great pride in pronouncing my newly-acquired skill of offense-avoidance. And, therefore, I am also ignoring the greatest commandment: to love.
Remember Paul’s teaching about love? We can be gifted beyond belief in speech or talent or wisdom, but if we don’t have love it amounts to nothing.
So, the next time someone does something to hurt me (whether intentionally or unintentionally) it is my new goal to not only avoid being offended, but to go a step further and attempt to cover up the offense. Instead of calling my friends and boasting about how I victoriously avoided satan’s bait (and in turn spewing poison about who did what to me), I will try to cover up the offense and promote love.
Can you imagine if every time God forgave us of a lie or a lustful thought, that He would phone His friends and tell them what a loser we were?
Oh God, what have I done? Forgive me for being such a slow learner. Thank You for how You relentlessly pursue me with Your love. Thank You for continuing to try to teach me and help me understand how to be more like You. Forgive me for the times I’ve hurt others by not covering up their offense, and for all the times I offended others myself. Undo the damage I’ve done, God, and pour out Your love to me so that I can understand how to love others. I’m thankful for how You uncover what I have covered up, and more thankful that You cover up what I uncover. -amen