TUESDAY, MAY 7
“Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head…And David said, ‘Leave him alone.’”
2 Samuel 16:9, 11 (ESV)
THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS: REFUSING TO STRIKE BACK
In March of 2009, a Providence Rhode Island woman was accused of punching and biting her 11-year-old son’s school principal after she was told the boy was being suspended. Police said this 30-year-old mom also bit an officer trying to arrest her after the incident at a middle school in Providence. She was charged with assault on school officials, assault on police officers and resisting arrest. Police said she punched the principal in the face and bit his left arm after he told her that her son would be suspended for three days for refusing to go to a room for misbehaving students. (Associated Press) There have probably been times we’ve all wanted to punch and bite someone. Well, maybe not bite.
Abishai had been known to take matters into his own hands and did not give empty threats. So in 2 Samuel 16:9 when he asked David permission to cut off Shemei’s head for throwing insults and stones he wasn’t kidding. But David said, “Leave him alone.” Not striking back may be one of the most difficult things we ever do. Not striking back may also be one of the most Christ-like things we ever do. The Bible gives us lots of instruction on dealing with people who wrong us. 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil, or insult with insult, but with blessing, for to this you were called.” 1 Corinthians 4:13 teaches, “When we were slandered, we answered kindly.” Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers over an offense promotes love…” And 1 Thessalonians 5:15 reads, “See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but follow that which is good.”
Years ago, a pastor friend challenged me to respond to people based on who I am and not on who they were. So just because someone was being unkind, harsh, unfair and downright evil didn’t mean I was to do the same. If I am a Christ-follower, I always want to respond like the Christ-follower that I am. When you encounter any conflict as a Christ follower, make it a habit of pausing and asking God how you should respond based on who you are, not on how you have been treated.