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Make Your Choice

Not every argument is created equally.  Not every disagreement rises to the level of a fight.  Not every offense is worth being offended by.  Not every hill is worth dying on.  That's why we must discover to choose our response when we are conflicted internally or are in conflict with someone.

For Biblical peacemakers, there are two options when it comes to our response.  Our first option is to overlook the offense.  This is not ignoring the issue; this is not burying your head in sand; this is not stuffing it.  This isn't a passive act that will lead to future problems, but it is an intentional act to live at peace with others.  It's choosing overlooking it because you have FORGIVEN them.

Read Proverbs 19:11 and you will see that is actually wise to be patient with others.  Biblical wisdom says that we should bear with one another and forgive one another.  When we do that, we patiently overlook the offenses committed against us.

11 A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.  PROVERBS 19:11

Don't miss the reality that when we overlook other's offfenses, it's not a sign of weakness.  It's not an invitation to be taken advantage of.  It is a position of strength - a position of glory in our lives.

So how to you know when you should overlook an issue?  As a general rule, an offense should be overlooked if you can answer “no” to all of the following questions:

  1. Is the offense seriously dishonoring God?
  2. Has it permanently damaged a relationship?
  3. It is seriously hurting other people?
  4. Is it seriously hurting the offender himself?

Do I have to chase down every hurt that I feel or a small offense by others?  NO.
If you can overlook the offense, you can and you should.  But if you can’t, you must go to the 2nd option.

The second option is to engage in the conflict to seek peace.  Have a tough talk to seek peace.  Speak the truth in love to seek peace.  To do this, we need to deal with the two extremes of responses to conflict.  Some of us are peace fakers.  We want to avoid conflict and tough conversations at all costs.  If that's you, pray for the courage to say what needs to be said.  The other extreme is peace breakers.  You have no problem engaging the issue, but the way you do it doesn't bring peace.  It likely brings more pain and more division.  If that's you, pray and wait until you can speak the truth in love.  

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