By Rick Warren

“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)

There are people in life who always want their way. They’ve got a right way and a wrong way to do something, and your way is always the wrong way. When you don’t meet their standards, they’re going to let you know about it. And it always seems you can never quite please them.

So, how do you respond in love to demanding people?

The Bible tells us that patience comes from perspective: “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV). The more you understand a person — his background, battles, and burdens — the more patient you’re going to be with him.

We often look at people and go, “Look how far they have to go.” But we don’t stop and say, “I wonder how far they’ve come?” Maybe they were raised in a family where they had no model of kindness or courtesy. Maybe they grew up in a very dysfunctional home, and it’s a miracle, really, that they made it this far.

What are the burdens they’re carrying? They may be sick. They may have a family issue. They may have just lost their job. There are all kinds of battles and burdens people carry that you and I don’t know about.

Proverbs 19:11 tells us to overlook offenses. Do you overlook offenses or are you offended by offenses? Are you so touchy and irritable that anybody who looks at you funny or forgets to say something or doesn’t see you offends you? Love lets it go.

The Bible says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). Love is understanding, not demanding — and it’s what you would want others to do to you when you’re having a bad day or don’t feel well or are carrying heavy burdens.

Does that mean you’re just supposed to let people run over you? Do you just let them push you around? Do you act like a doormat, cave in, and let them say whatever they want?

No. Here’s the key: Be tender without surrender. Jesus never caved in to manipulators — the religious leaders and Pharisees who were extremely demanding and legalistic. They had all kinds of demands that they themselves couldn’t even keep. But Jesus did not let demanding people push him into a corner. He was tender without surrender. That’s what you call love in action.

Talk It Over

  • Spend today considering what people around you might be struggling with, or even take the time to ask them. How does it change your perspective? Your attitude? Your response to others?
  • Why do you think it’s so hard for us to “let it go”? Why do we have to have the last word?
  • What would need to change about your response to people to be tender without surrender?