Be careful of the second-hand offense. That’s the one where evil or unfairness or meanness or sin is committed – not against you – but against someone you love. Immediately you are holding a grudge against the perpetrator and boy if you could get your hands on them, they would get a piece of your mind.
I think it is sometimes even harder to forgive these kinds of offenses than the ones that come directly to you. Kind of like; “Mess with me but don’t mess with my kids.” I once met a conniving, manipulative co-worker of my older daughter and had a difficult time being civil. I managed to say hello but I’m sure I did not add; “Nice to meet you.”
No matter how hard, we need to resist holding anything against ANYONE. Here’s what Jesus said; “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26) That doesn’t leave us any wiggle room does it?
Is it worth it to hold on to any kind of offense, whether first or second-hand if it means my own sins will not be forgiven? And what do all these little penny ante offenses add up to? Eventually they create a hardening and bitterness of our heart that affects all of our relationships.
Speak a blessing immediately upon the next person who offends someone close to you. Refuse to replay the offense in your mind. If it keeps rearing its ugly head, repeat the blessing and say out loud; “I forgive” as often as necessary. Don’t go by your feelings; choose to forgive regardless of how you feel.
Reject the second-hand offense. Forgive. You will then be secure in asking your heavenly Father to forgive you.
Here’s the audio version for you: