Harboring Offenses

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

When I was a young girl, I wondered why Grandmother and her sister wouldn’t speak to each other. This went on for ten years before they reconciled. Even as a child, this behavior seemed unnatural to me. One day I asked Grandma why they didn’t get along.
With a puzzled expression, she answered, “I really don’t know. I can’t remember why.”
One day, Grandma’s sister phoned her and struck up a conversation as though nothing had happened. They forgave each other. This simple act brought an end to their feud and they were great friends for the rest of their lives.
Since becoming an adult, I’ve heard of the same behaviors being prevalent in other families too. This bothered me and I decided I’m not going to allow offenses to hinder my relationships. I haven’t done this perfectly, but I keep turning to God for help whenever problems surface.
Sometimes it’s the unmet expectations, disappointments, and unresolved daily conflicts that open the door to offenses taking root. But as we ask God for wisdom in dealing with others, He will help us get along well with them – even though we have differences.
As Christians, God has called us to be reconcilers. We can often bring peace in difficult situations by conducting ourselves in a polite and Christ-like manner. It’s challenging to overlook the faults in others, yet we all have faults too – some we aren’t aware of.
Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give and receive. Forgiving others helps remove the burden upon us. It’s not easy to forgive, but necessary. Do you need to forgive or reconcile with anyone?
Lord, I thank You for helping me to conduct myself wisely and properly toward others. Help me to know how I offend others so that I can make it right. Amen.