Proverbs 17:9. Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Relationships are destroyed every day. We often think of how the offender destroys relationships. But this proverb gives us a warning about how the offended can destroy a relationship. When the offended “repeats a matter” or refuses to “cover an offense,” they have now become the one guilty of destroying the relationship.
This of course will not be seen. What is usually seen is the one who was the offender. The one who cheated, or was unreliable. The one who messes up, or failed originally. The one against whom I can have a legitimate grievance.
But seeking love requires me to forgive and forget. To put it away. To keep no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5). To cover or conceal an offense. If you want to have close friendships and enjoy strong relationships, you cannot continually bring up their past faults and mistakes. And, as our fighter verse says, you cannot go around repeating them to others (gossip).
Yes, there are times when a friend must be confronted, and sin must be dealt with. But there are also many things that can simply be absorbed by the grace of the person offended. And the truth is, in our society today, we are far too easily offended. “I’m offended” has become an emotional trump card that allows me to say and do almost anything- often destructive to the ends of friendship. Now those who are offended by the same things huddle together and fail to ever develop any new lasting relationships and obviously fail at any sort of enemy love as is commanded by our Savior.
Christians should be the least offensive and the least offended people on earth. Of course the message of grace which is Christianity is offensive. But Christians themselves should be the kindest, most gentle, peaceful, loving people in their neighborhoods, workplaces, churches and schools.
Christians should also be the least offended. The grace that has been poured lavishly into us by Christ should absorb all offense. Forgiveness should reign. It is glorious to overlook an offense- it images God.
Proverbs 19:11. A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 25:2a. It is the glory of God to conceal things,
God overlooks our offenses. He covers our sin. He conceals matters of offense thousands of times a day for me. Both big and small. He has removed my sin as far as east is from west. He has done this through the work of Christ on the cross.
Did Christ die so that I could crucify my friends, family, and fellow Christians over their offenses? Did Christ suffer so that I could make others suffer by bringing up over and over their failures and faults? Can I apply to others what God has applied to me? Can you?