«The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression» (Proverbs 1 9: 1 1).
Offending others involves acts that humiliate, insult, injure or mistreat another person. An offense can refer to a crime, humiliation, harm or abuse. Some of; fend their fellow men while others offend God. Many offend with their words and others with their attitude or behavior. The apostle James emphasizes in his epistle that «we all stumble in many things» (James 3:2). That is to say that each of us is the target or the originator of a myriad and diverse offenses. Thus, faced with such amplitude of mishaps, it is good if each of us would make a habit of promptly forgiving. Despite it, many people are hypersensitive in internalizing the offenses of others and subsequently feeling hurt.
King David was passing through Bahurim, a village close to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, when one of Saul’s family member, called Shimei, came out cursing, «Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue!» (2 Sam. 16:7). Then Abishai, one of the main military officers of David told the King, «Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!» (v. 9). However, the King did not make use of his power to kill him but took his insults as a reason of reflection and a problem to be placed in God’s hands (vv. 10-12).
Another general, Hyon Yong-chol of the North Korean Minister of Defense, fell asleep during a military parade. It is said that this fact, which was interpreted as «lack of respect» for the dictator Kim Jong Un, cost him his life.
Have you noticed that an offense can either be serious or not depending on the interpretation of the facts? Have you observed that receiving insults has an element that depends on the person who is offended? In the above-mentioned cases, both statesmen were free to decide if the act was an insult or not; moreover, each of them was free to decide how to act upon it.
Today’s verse suggests that the discretion of an offended person can reduce anger and that overlooking an offense is an honor. It is true that there are deep wounds that are hard to overlook. Even so, it is possible to leave the matter in the hands of God and have confidence that, despite the magnitude of the harm, it is still honorable to forgive.