When I was just a little fellow, probably about seven or eight years old, I was whittling on a piece of wood one Sunday morning right before we went to church. The knife slipped, laying the inside of the thumb wide open right across the print. I was afraid of what kind of punishment I would receive if I told Momma, so I got a handkerchief and wrapped it tightly and stuck it in my trouser pocket and went to church. I kept my hand in my pocket all morning. I tended to it as soon as I got home. I got in the bathroom and shut the door and washed it up and tightly bandaged it. I kept it out of sight as much as possible until it healed. I still have a scar across my left thumb print – almost 60 years later.
When my thumb received the “offense”, did it get mad and leave my hand? No. It stayed right there. I dealt with it and learned to be more careful with a knife, and to this day, my whole body benefits from having two functional thumbs, even though one has a little scar on it. Offence happens in the Body of Christ and in families. We have a guide in the Bible for when it happens. We are to deal with it right away, wrap it up, and not let it fester to a spreading infection. The involved parties are to come together, lay it all out on the table, come clean by confessing faults and praying for one another, learn from it, and go forward together so that all may benefit. When we fail to deal with hurts and offences in a Biblical way, infection will set in and spread and affect the whole body. Feelings remain hurt, negative talk is passed around freely by the involved parties, and the whole cause of the kingdom is damaged. Offences occur. If we deal with it promptly in God’s way, damage will be minimized for all. The real bad thing is that after the offender has repented and is cleared, if the offended continues to stew and brew, pouring out evil words to others of the incident, they step outside the umbrella of God’s protection, opening themselves up to more hurt. If the knife has slipped, deal with it God’s way honestly, humbly, and quickly. Don’t “leave” the family. Grow from it and go forward together with more wisdom.
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