There is nothing that annoys more quickly than stepping on a piece of gum. It stubbornly sticks to the shoe and resists most efforts at cleaning. There is lots of advice out there on how to remove that nasty gum, including ice cubes, WD 40 motor oil, peanut butter, and freezing the shoe in a plastic bag. But those methods do not help when I am out and about. I end up walking on that foot gingerly, smelling like mint until I can get back home!
Insults can stick like gum to the shoe. We remember every harsh or unkind word. The more publicly it is uttered, the more it sticks to our memories. But showing annoyance at the time it is said puts us at a disadvantage. We are called, “foolish,” when we show that the insult of another annoys us. However, we are viewed as prudent when we can immediately overlook that insult. When we can manage to overlook it, it will not stick to us. Not only will others not remember it, but we ourselves have a better chance of forgetting it as well.
It is such a wonderful quality to be able to shrug off an insult. It is even “to our glory” to overlook an offense (Prov. 19:11). We are viewed as the better person for taking this high road. But quite frankly, I find it very difficult to do. It helps me to look to the model of Jesus who was insulted, reviled, mocked and misunderstood. Yet, He did not reply in kind or hold a grudge. He responded with an offer of forgiveness. It did not stick!
Lord, give me the wisdom and prudence to overlook insults.
(Look familiar? This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)