Monday, March 28, 2011


   Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”
   But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”
   David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”  -- II Samuel 16:9-12

I remember coming in the house from school upset because of having been jeered or called names at the bus stop and complaining to my mom basically that my feelings were hurt.  She would invariably say the sing-song little rhyme: "Sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you."  I didn't like that answer, part of me still doesn't.  Yet, I see in our world today that we've grown as a "touchy feely" culture such that NPR did a segment a while back about how difficult it is for employers to keep younger workers because they all wear their hearts on their sleeves and need extraordinary recognition and pats on the back to keep their heads in their jobs.  There is an irony in this culture that I frequently do not know how to reconcile.  On one hand we seem more sensitive about our own feelings being hurt, but on the other we have no compunction whatsoever of tearing someone apart who hasn't done what we want to our standards.  Good come backs and rude insults are honored humor, yet simultaneously when directed at me, my feelings are hurt? 

David has a lone crier cursing at him and throwing stones at him.  Hardly the respect one should be showing to the King.  Yet, instead of hollering "Off with his head," David tells his soldiers to ignore him because he might be God's messenger.  What a concept for us to consider!    Perhaps the criticisms and complaints we receive from others ARE God's message to us?

I do believe God is about perfecting us to be better people.  There is nothing God won't use in this refining endeavor.  A sermon I heard yesterday emphasized this fact: it takes trouble to purify us.  It's the strength of character we develop in the crucibles of conflict, misery, suffering and trouble that give us the internal strength to be strong faith-filled people of Christ.  King David had CERTAINLY been through many of these troubles.  Wisely he had grown to be not a petulant impulsive monarch with a scepter of death, but a gracious, sensitive to God human being.

So don't fly off the handle and "zing" people back. Pray on these things and use your wisdom to weigh your responses to adversity carefully.

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