Some players look for it.
A screaming fastball just outside the plate.
Not to hit a home run. They want to be hit. It’s a strategy. Get hit by a pitch. Get first base. Hughie Jennings was hit by 287 pitches between 1891-1903. In our modern era, Craig Biggio absorbed 285 pitches through 19 years with the Houston Astros. Some baseball players intentionally sought out the sting of the pitch.
Something similar happens in contemporary culture. Many people are easily offended—looking to get hit by a pitch. It is not a saved/unsaved issue. Daily, Christians and non-Christians alike live their lives as easily offended people. Constant exposure to podcasts, social media, and news commentary land their wounds. If we are easily offended, it will be difficult for our world to miss whenever it throws.
Our Lord has a response …
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
Proverbs never celebrates hasty anger. Rather, it speaks highly of those “slow to anger” (15:18; 16:14; 19:19; 29:8, 22). They act like God (Exodus 34:6). Anger is the result of offense (“transgression” in many Bible versions). “Glory” speaks of adornment. It is the patient/slow to anger adorned: they “pass over” the offense. Not only is it wise to be patient with anger, but also to adorn ourselves with a loving forgiveness that passes over wrongs committed.
Proverbs 19:11 is a word of wisdom for our lives. To apply it …
Assess yourself: “Am I easily offended?” More importantly, the Lord will know the answer to this and you should ask Him (Psalm 139:23). Sometimes people are angry, but can’t explain why. Maybe it’s a silo of harbored offenses.
Assume the best about others. They’re not aiming for you. Love them! Love comes with its own “sweet forgetfulness.” Elsewhere in Proverbs, “love covers all transgressions” (10:12), in 1 Peter 4:8 “love covers a multitude of sins,” and in 1 Corinthians 13:5 love “does not take into account a wrong suffered.” However, sometimes they do aim for you. The offense is on purpose. When you do get beamed in the back …
Act like Jesus. You and I will never experience more offenses committed against us than Jesus did. He didn’t deserve any of them. Jesus provides us with an example of how to react when an offense was intended. His responses varied. At times, He remained silent (Matthew 27:12-14) and He forgave the offenders in prayer (Luke 23:34). When He did get angry, it was righteous anger and it occurred in response to things that mattered to God (John 2:12-17)—not to losing out on the last loaf at the marketplace, the color of the candleholders in the synagogues, or the way others drove their donkeys.
Acknowledge what happens to you. Harboring anger is a self-inflicted attack on your soul. If we rehearse it we create more trouble for our hearts than letting go. Nothing is gained by reviewing the offense and justice is not served. Let it go! Think about something else (Philippians 4:7-8). God will make all things right and He will righteously judge everyone.
Alter your patterns. You may discover that you are easily offended. “Hugging the plate” as they say in baseball. You can change! Confess your sin to God. Ask Him for grace to change. Set a match to the silo of past wrongs. When possible, take a break from the source of the offense. You don’t have to live as an angry person. It is your glory to overlook an offense. The pitches will keep on coming. You can be certain of that. Maybe it’s time to back off the plate a little bit. May the peace of God guard your heart and your mind.
With the affection of Christ, Pastor Michael