In a day and age that cries out for tolerance, the idea of “tolerating our spouses” can easily seep into our mindset in marriage as well. At least, it did for my marriage!
This notion sounds so noble and even Christlike on the surface. In fact, there’s one verse in particular that seems to support this idea, pointing every Christ-follower in the direction of tolerating. The verse is found in Proverbs 12:6 …
“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”
I don’t know of anyone who wants to act like a fool. So this is a verse and idea we generally perk up and listen to.
And though the word “prudent” has fallen out of the everyday vernacular, it still represents the wise idea of being cautious.
So, I’d like to address these two questions . . .
- How is it wise to be cautious when someone insults us?
- Is tolerating sin the same thing as overlooking an offense?
There are four main reasons that it is wise to be cautious here . . .
1. It is wise to be prudent and cautious—by overlooking an insult—because we want that same grace extended to us when we sin.
2. If we are too quick and careless with our anger toward our offender (in many cases, who is our spouse), we might hinder that person’s willingness to repent and apologize.
3. We also run the risk of developing bitterness, whenever we begin to keep a record of our offender’s/mate’s wrongs.
4. Finally, and most importantly, if we expect God to forgive us of the sins we commit, then we cannot withhold grace from those who offend us.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” —Ephesians 4:32
How tolerating sin is NOT the same thing as overlooking an offense . . .
Even though there is some measure of acceptance involved in tolerating, it really implies being resigned to someone’s choices and beliefs. You basically keep a hands off approach, out of concern for your own welfare and freedom of choice.
In contrast, overlooking an offense is not about giving an offender a free pass, nor looking out for “number one,” while doing so.
It is about releasing an offender to God, the ultimate judge of sin in all of our lives (Romans 2:1-16).
Also, overlooking an insult is never about enabling someone to continue to offend or sin. Instead, it is about extending the grace we’ve received from God back to our offenders.
Who knows? Surely, by extending grace, we might draw our offender(s) much quicker toward repentance and right choices, than if we were quick to accuse them.
It’s also important to note that this verse in Proverbs is speaking specifically about insults and not so much about major boundary violations. Major violations involve a more complex approach, depending on God and godly people for clarity on how to proceed.
Above all, we must look to Christ for the difference between tolerating and overlooking sin.
He never tolerated sin when it came to the unrepentant, like the Pharisees. He called them out on their self-righteous and sinful attitudes and behaviors time after time, giving them chance after chance to repent (Matthew 23).
The Bible also makes it clear just how quick Jesus was to forgive those who were brokenhearted and remorseful over their sins.
The good news is that He is just as quick to forgive the repentant today and everyday!
Above all, we must remember that Christ had every reason not to forgive or overlook sin, since He lived a sinless life. He had and has the right to point out, convict and even condemn sin in people’s lives because He is our perfect God.
We, on the other hand, never have that right, but rather the privilege and responsibility of extending His grace to others. And sometimes this grace needs to be shown when it is right to overlook an offense.
Finally, we must remember that overlooking an insult is not about agreeing with what has been done against us or others. It is about forgiving our offenders—something we can do immediately and, often, simply in the confines of our hearts.
Of course, there will be times when God will call us to hold our offender(s) accountable in life, rather than overlooking an insult. But this is only after we’ve taken the “plank” of sin out of our own eye.
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” —Matthew 7:5
Bottom Line: If we ever hope to love and forgive our mates like Christ loves and forgives us, we need to rise to a much higher standard than tolerating them and their sins. I want to rise to this superior level each day, and hope that you’ll join me in this effort as well!
Let’s recommit to
tolerating loving and forgiving our spouses this day and everyday! 🙂
[bctt tweet=”Want to join me in an important challenge that will help you love your spouse ‘warts and all’? Then click to find out how! #loveandforgiveness” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
As I’ve mentioned recently, I’m pulling out one of my old “Sloppy Joe Time” videos from the vault each week. This time I’m sharing the video that has gained more views than any of my other videos, Sloppy Joe Time or not! If you’re not aware of my Messy Marriage YouTube channel, then I hope you’ll click the link and subscribe today!
But before heading there, please take a few minutes to click on the video below to hear more of my thoughts on this all-important topic . . .
Have you been tolerating your spouse’s offenses rather than overlooking and/or forgiving your mate?
If so, what will it take for you to change this unhealthy pattern to one of love and forgiveness instead?
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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