You never really know someone’s true character until they don’t get what they think they deserve.
Some of my most mortifying and regrettable moments in life have been when I didn’t get what I was expecting, and my true colors, festering and foul, became visible for all to see.
Someone once asked Dallas Willard how he would define a ‘mature Christian’ and his reply was this: “I think a mature Christian is someone who is very difficult to offend.”
We all know people who are easy to offend; those who believe that their own experience, understanding, or empathy far exceeds those they disagree with or dislike.
There are no real (or perceived) slights that easily offended souls won’t harbor hotly in their hearts.
There’s no hill they won’t die on to defend their position from any who’d dare question it, and there’s no bridge they won’t burn to advance their ideology, or theology, which they believe is far more informed and thoughtful than yours.
Easily offended people believe they are justified in acting like a jerk. They were provoked! They weren’t treated with the respect and consideration they deserve!
Easily offended people believe that if only others would accommodate their expectations for good then peace would prevail and they wouldn’t need to call you out.
The easily offended person fights fire with fire. Slight for slight. Wound for wound. Cold-shoulder for cold-shoulder. What a dreadful and lonely way to live out our days.
And so if I really do want to become a more mature Christian, I must practice resisting real-time temptation and learn to fight fire – not with more fire – but with water.
When I’m stung from a slight, can I resist temptation and offer a balm instead of a wound?
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
When I encounter a cold shoulder, can I cover evil’s chill with the warmth of genuine good?
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Shalom to you today.
Because Jesus knows your true colors, and yet he covers you, forgives you, frees you, and sees you as you don’t deserve – radiant and pure – holy in his sight.
Now go and do likewise.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.