Yesterday I attended a Christmas luncheon. The hostess and I have been good friends for several years, but this was the first time I’ve ever been to her home. It’s beautiful. Small and cozy and beautifully decorated - even more so because of all the Christmas decorations gracing each room. I was admiring them when I spotted the stocking I had given her for Christmas last year. Now, this isn’t just any Christmas stocking. You see, my friend loves the color purple. She wears it all the time. Clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags. Even her cell phone is purple! She decorates her house with tasteful splashes of purple and I bet she would even drive a purple car if she could found one in just the right shade.
So, when I spied this 4 foot purple stocking hanging in the store last year, I knew she would love it. It’s ornate, it’s plush, it’s luxurious, it’s purple!
And there it was, yesterday, hanging predominately on the kitchen wall under a delicate spray of lilacs.
Warmth flooded my heart. She really did love it.
“Oh, you have your purple stocking out,” I said, casually.
She paused to look at it for a second and then said, “Yes, it’s so imposing, but one of my kids bought it for me a few years ago, so I feel obligated to put it out.”
It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. Instead, I just nodded with heart-felt understanding. Not about feeling obligated to display gifts that others have bought, but because I understood perfectly those moments when your memory takes a holiday. I have them all the time.
Years ago I might have been offended that my good friend forgot in just 12 short months that I had given her the ultimate Christmas stocking. Back then I was very easily offended. I had a chip on my shoulder and assumed that people didn’t really like me, so I looked for some hidden meaning behind their comments. I was ready to argue at the drop of a hat, quick with a snarky comment of my own and a pro at holding grudges.
Thank God for the life-changing experience of salvation through Jesus Christ! Since the day I invited Jesus to be the Lord of my life, God has been systematically changing my character. Some things fell away quickly, some things took a little longer and some things He’s still working on, but I am a different person today than I was way back then. God’s transforming power and 1 Corinthians 13:5 have taught me that love – real love, is not easily angered (or offended).
That’s been one of my guiding verses for years – love is not easily offended. I’ve come to the place where someone has to go a long way in order to offend me. And my life is so much better for just this simple change.
How about you? Are you easily offended? Do you tend to read things into what your friends say? Do you mull them over in your mind until you’re all worked up?
Do yourself a favor and ask God to change that part of your character. Life is so much more pleasant when you can laugh at what once would have offended you.