It took a funeral to get Lenny’s family back in church. Years before the tragedy, Lenny and his family left the church because they had become disillusioned after someone offended them. They spent the next several years without a church home.
During this time, Lenny’s kids grew up, albeit without God as a central part of their lives. Then tragedy struck. One of Lenny’s sons became drunk and was killed in a car accident. Tyler’s death shook the family so much they decided to return to their home church.
When the invitation was given at the service, the entire family came forward.
One of the members remarked to the pastor of the church how excited he was to see the family back in church after their years of absence. The pastor, who had known Lenny’s family before they left and the petty matter which caused them to leave, did not share the other man’s sentiments. He said, “No, it is a sad thing because Lenny will have to give an account for the implications of getting offended over stupid things.”
It has been said, “You can tell how big a man is by what it takes to stop him.” This is especially true in the Christian life. When offenses come — and you can be sure they will — we may choose to become bitter, to retaliate, or to respond biblically. Making either of the first two choices will effectively stop us from making spiritual progress. Responding biblically, confronting the person about the offense and extending forgiveness, is the key to moving forward.
Lenny’s reaction to the offense at his church not only affected him, but it also affected his entire family, ultimately leading to his son’s death. Your reactions to offenses will affect others also. Will you become bitter and cut off communication with the person who has wronged you? Will you attempt to even the score? Or will you humbly confront and forgive? I hope you will choose the last option. Do it for your sake and those your decision will influence.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.