A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11 NIV84
I was recently asked if my lack of retaliation when insulted was a strength or a weakness. In my pride I was deeply insulted that they might feel I was a coward letting others intimidate me. I wanted them to know it was my love for Jesus that motivated my absorption of evil. I verbalized to them that God in the Bible in Proverbs talks about wisdom overlooking an offense (I couldn’t remember the verse exactly). They cut me off by quickly saying, “it’s a strength” and left.
People who don’t know Jesus don’t understand us, His followers. They wonder how can someone be kind to someone who has just said to them, “I don’t like you, I don’t want you to help me, I want someone else.” Returning kindness when someone hurts you makes no sense. Unless, you have an allegiance to something higher than your own ego.
When I’m insulted I hurt. And the times I return kindness I don’t feel full of love at that moment. Many times I am dealing with the feelings of wanting retaliation as I am trying to express understanding to my attacker. Is this hypocrisy? Because my feelings don’t match up with my actions of love, satan tells me I am a hypocrite. He does this in hopes that I become confused and stop revealing the reality of Jesus to someone who desperately needs Him. However, the Truth is conflicting feelings do not negate the sincerity of righteous action. Feelings don’t think. They respond. Feelings follow footsteps. And when I am loving my enemy I may still be responding to the hurt he has caused me. As I continue to love my attacker, my feelings may catch up to my actions and I may eventually feel love for my enemy. Or, I may not. Either way I continue to act in the best interest of my attacker.
Because that’s what Jesus did for me when I was His attacker.
I have precious little dominance. I scored almost zero in dominance on a personality test. I hate directing people. I don’t see the big picture. I am better one-on-one, listening, empathizing, and encouraging.
One of the things I hate to see is someone with high dominance using their God-given strength to serve themselves. They can be pushy, rude, scheming, intimidating and more; with a trail of hurt people in their wake (and those hurt by them include themselves).
One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is a person with a dominate personality with a servant’s heart. They don’t try to dominate you, they try to serve you. They use their personality to easily do the things I can’t do. They see the big picture. They anticipate problems and work on solutions while options are available. They warn you of the problems that are coming. They include others in decision-making. They know the strengths of the people they work with and strategically suggest the best way to use those strengths. Though they are essential they realize they are an equal member of the team, and deserve no more credit than those with other personalities and contributions who are just as essential.
Those who are greatest in God’s kingdom of love are servant’s of all. And we can all be the greatest, because we can all serve one another. God has given us different but equally valuable personality strengths. And when persons with dominant personalities use their strength to serve others, all the personality strengths are orchestrated for the benefit of everyone; to the glory of the God who designed us to complement, serve and love each other.
Do not those who plot evil go astray?
But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. Proverbs 14:22
When I read this verse I think: I don’t “plot evil.” That’s for James Bond movies’ villains. But what about when someone is very rude to me without reason? And I, consciously or unconsciously, decide I’m going to let them suffer the fruits of their own deeds. Instead of warning them of a problem they unknowingly are going to have, because they hurt me, I’m going to let them fall into it and suffer.
When I do that, (and I’ve done that or similar things more times than can be counted), I “plot evil.” Whether I am aware of it or not, when I plot evil my thinking is changed and I start “going astray.” I naturally start making decisions that will take me where I may not realize I do not want to go. I hurt more and more people and myself until I destroy myself.
What is the cure? If I “plan what is good” (and apologies may be the first thing I need to plan), my mind is changed and my thinking is corrected. I find “love and faithfulness”…
I find Jesus.