Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
“I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…”
“He didn’t want me to tell anyone, but…”
“Did you know…”
“We should be praying for…”
And so begins many a repeating of a matter that creates anger and suspicion that never should have occurred. Every day we say and do things that we should not or did not mean to do. Someone gets frustrated and says something without thinking. Another gets nervous and acts in a way in which he knows better. But the sinful word or deed is now “out there.” Will it be repeated? Will we pass it on, letting it be relived in our mouths and the ears of others?
It depends on how we respond to offense. Jesus said that when we are offended we should go privately to the offender. If that does not resolve the matter, then bring in a witness, then elders. In other words, seek to handle an offense privately with the intent for a peaceful resolution. But this proverb notes that there are times when it is best to overlook an offense. Indeed, if we were to bring up every offense we think we receive, our days would be marked by confrontation. Ephesians 4:2 tells us to bear with one another in love. This assumes that we will be offended, and we are called upon to take much of it in stride. After all, we (more often than we know) offend others. If we were confronted every time we erred in our speech and acts, we would be weighed down in discouragement.
And if our mishaps were repeated – if the unthinking remark was reported or foolish act passed on – then we would be devastated as hurt and anger were compounded. Stop and pray before you confront someone about their offense. And do not repeat a matter unless you are compelled after much prayer. Whenever you share an offensive remark or deed, you place a burden upon the hearer. This is not a matter of minding your own business. It is a matter of acting in love, thinking what is best for everyone. If need be, seek godly counsel what to do. But always keep before you what demonstrates love for neighbor – both the neighbor who offends and the neighbor you are about to tell. Seek love.
Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.
Paul’s Arrival at Rome
11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.
Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard
17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
21 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”
23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26 “‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”  [b]
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!