Offense, Forgiveness, and Self-Control

Have you ever been offended? Ever been royally mistreated and found your sense of righteous indignation rise up like a volcano? The sense of justice mixed with revenge can be a powerful emotion. Like all things, however, it needs to be controlled. There are times when we must, in the cause of what is right, stand our ground; conversely, there are times when we, in the cause of what is right, must allow the injustice, and like our Savior, humbly bear the indignity. In any case, we must exercise self-control. This particular virtue oftentimes saves our lives and the lack of it often endangers our lives. Coming home last weekend I watched a motorcyclist nearly be hit by a car, and then watched the motorcyclist antagonize the driver of the car for the next 15 miles creating a hazard for the biker and everyone else. The biker was aggrieved but lacking self-control created a hazard for everyone else.

As parents we can model the correct way to react to injury and insult and the way we react will teach our own children. A case in point, several years ago I was a farmer and I was struggling to unstick a spring, the spring came loose with an enormous amount of energy, most of which hit my knuckle. In the split second we have between your body being injured and our reaction I looked at the 5 or 6 little kids, my neighbor’s children and my own, who had come to watch me work and maybe get a ride on the hay wagon and realized that should I say something inopportune it would be repeated endlessly in the neighborhood, so I kept my mouth shut. It was hard but worth it.

So when you find yourself about to explode, when your desire to say something is nigh upon overwhelming do what you may have been told before, pause, count to ten, or a hundred, and then … respond as you will but remember as scripture says, “Say only those good things we need to hear.”

It is your choice.