Last evening I was having an interesting conversation with the neighbor. We were on the topic of the weather and he brought up that next week could be brutal with the remnants of the next hurricane coming up the east coast. He then looked at me rather sheepishly and said, “Have you heard the name of this storm?” Then it dawned on me, “Sandy !” Which ironically is the name of his wife. We shared a laugh at her expense and agreed she should be kept out of the loop on this little joke ! In all seriousness, though, had she been there she would’ve laughed right along with us and added even more to it !! She has said on more than one occasion that she is not easily offended.
Its good having neighbors that aren’t so “thin-skinned” as invariably we will all do things that irritate one another being the sinners we still are. But I think two things dictate the thickness of our skin when it comes to offenses: (1) pride (2) an openness to God’s Word ! On the one hand, if we are humble when someone does or says something that hurts we’ll quickly realize that we too are capable of making the same error but if proud will take it so personally we’ll lash back and on the other if God’s Word is truly our guide we’ll also be able to rise above the offenses that come our way from time to time and not respond in kind but commit it to a just God. Peter wrote, “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience endure grief, suffering wrongfully, for what glory is it, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently?, but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1Pt.2:19-20).
We will all “get grief” from time to time but when we do will we still show Christlikeness? Or will we do everything we can to get justice on our own timetable and terms? I like how Peter began to wind down this section of his book speaking about the Lord, “Who when He was reviled, he reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not (and He sure could have with great force !): but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” (vs.23). Our strategy should be to be like Christ, even when truly offended, and if in jest, as with Sandy, be like Christ as well.