Don’t Let Others Define You
Posted: Thursday, May 19
2 Samuel 14:1-15:22
Verse of the day:
And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. (I Samuel 24:17)
In this account, David is being chased by Saul—Saul wants to kill David to prevent him from taking over as king of Israel. When Saul enters a cave where David and his men are hiding, David is given the perfect opportunity to end this persecution by killing Saul. Though his men think he is justified to do so, and quote prophecy to convince David to end it, David refuses.
The most important fact in the whole story is that David refused to kill Saul even when he had him dead to rights. But that raises a crucial question—why didn’t David take revenge while he had the chance? I have heard it said that revenge is “Life’s Most Subtle Temptation,” and indeed it is. I believe he refused for three reasons: First, because he recognized Saul’s authority over him and did not want to touched God’s anointed. Second, because he was willing to wait for God to vindicate him. Third, because he did not want to descend to Saul’s level, but wanted to prove to Saul that he [David] was being accused unfairly.
Have you ever felt the sting of unfair criticism? Or surprised sometime in life by the conduct of your friends when they have turned on you? How about being disappointed by someone close to you? It may have been at work when you were denied a promotion for which you were clearly qualified. It may have been a coach who passed you over for a starting position, even though you know you deserved it. It may have been when your husband or wife walked out on you.
We have no control over things like that. We wish we did, we wish no one would ever let us down, that no one would ever disappoint us, and that no one would ever turn against us. Still, it happens. And it happens to all of us. That’s a fact—especially as Christians. We just don’t know when the hammer is going to drop.
There is an important principle that comes into play here worth noting—while we have no control over how people treat us, over what they say and what they do, we do have complete control over how we respond. We’ll never stop people from attacking us or from breaking their word. We’ll never stop people from trying to replace us. That’s a fact of life, whatever the circumstance we find ourselves in—but we can be ready with a proper response.
Then how should we respond when we’ve been hurt? There are two options available. One, we can try to get even, which only feels good for the moment, and then we feel guilty like David did when he cut the corner of Saul’s robe off. Or two, we can do what David did—or more specifically what David didn’t do. When he had the chance to kill Saul, he didn’t take it.