Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Fearlessly forward – Day 13

Fearlessly forward without offending

Bible text(s)

19Help your relatives and they will protect you like a strong city wall, but if you quarrel with them, they will close their doors to you.

Proverbs 18:19GNBOpen in Bible reader

When my daughter Joalé was two years old, she wanted to eat only maize meal porridge for breakfast every morning. One morning we were a bit late and, in a hurry, I accidently added a little bit more salt to the porridge than necessary. With limited time available, I could not remake the porridge. I thought it did not taste too bad, but Joalé only had a few spoonfulls before returning the bowl to me with a frown — clearly unhappy with the porridge.

The next few mornings, I made the porridge in vain. Joalé did not even want to taste it — even though it was perfect and I even added sugar to make it more attractive.

One morning I decided to give it one more shot. If Joalé did not want to eat the porridge, I would pack it away for good. I made the porridge particularly tasty and put the bowl in front of her. Before she could protest, I took the spoon, placed a small amount of porridge on it and put it in her mouth so she could taste it. For a brief moment it was quiet. I expected tears to follow, but instead, a smile appeared with the words: “More, please, Mommy.” That morning Joalé ate two plates of maize meal porridge.

In our lives we sometimes have bad experiences too. We get hurt when a romantic relationship or friendship ends. We get hurt in marriage when our spouse acts in an insensitive way. Or we take offence in church or in the workplace when someone disappoints or hurts us with their words or actions. Just as my daughter did not want to eat her favourite porridge after her bad experience, we too, after being hurt or disappointed, build walls and isolate ourselves in an effort to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

Being offended, however, keeps us from God’s best for our lives. Listen to the words of Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

Are you like this city with strong walls around you today? Remember, forgiveness brings freedom into our lives. It breaks down the walls and enables God to give you His best. A romantic relationship might have ended, but maybe God plans to send you a much more suitable partner? Your spouse might have hurt you, but trying to get back at him or her at every chance will only destroy your own happiness. A friendship might have ended, but isolating yourself will prevent you from meeting much better friends that God plans to send into your life. And unless you stop blaming God for your hurt or disappointment in church, you will never experience His presence in your life as He intended for you.

God has plans for us to prosper and not to harm us. The psalmist says that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives. The porridge is already dished up. It is particularly good. Let’s drop our walls and taste it. If not, we might miss the best bowl yet! God bless.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
Find us on