I can’t remember who told me this story, but it makes me laugh every time I think of it. (It was probably after I told about the craft my son brought home from church one day.)
It had been a rough morning in Sunday School. The 2’s and 3’s class was a bit understaffed, especially given the complex craft for the day, which involved having the kids trace and cut out their hand, then tape down all but the pointer finger, and tie a string around it. Apparently the kids were supposed to remember something, but I can’t remember what that was either.
The part I do remember is what happened next. After the kids had all been handed off to their parents, one mother came back with an incredulous look of shock on her face, having just pulled the Sunday school craft from her child’s bag.
The cutout hand did have a finger sticking up, but it was the wasn’t the pointer finger. It was the middle finger instead.
Imagine this mother’s shock when she reached for her darling’s Sunday School craft and was confronted with an obscene hand gesture instead! Thankfully, she had a good sense of humor, and was able to overlook an offense created by some scrambling helpers, doing their best to oversee a mob of two and three-year-olds.
Sometimes, even when we are trying to do good, we are offensive. We forget someone’s name, or show up late. We fail to follow up on a prayer request or we ask the same question twice.
There are times that without meaning to, we truly do damage. We harm others’ belongings. We even repeat our stupid mistakes.
But Proverbs 19:11 says that it is a persons “glory to overlook an offense“.
And I Corinthians 13:5 says that love “is not easily angered.”
Don’t you just love the mom in this story? By overlooking the raised middle finger staring her in the face, she set everything right, eased the tension, and gave us permission to laugh instead of shudder.
Won’t you do the same for somebody who has offended you?