Bitterness can drive a person mad!

He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. –  2 Samuel 16:6

David fled Jerusalem to save his life because his son Absalom approached the city to take over the kingdom and kill his father. As David and his entourage departed the city, a relative of Saul came out and taunted the party and threw stones at them while he cursed David. Saul’s kin harbored hatred in his heart for David because he lost his close relative.

When David had two opportunities to take the life of Saul, he refused to do so. He knew that God had appointed Saul to be king over Israel and that no one had the right to touch let alone kill God’s anointed. It seems very uncanny at this point in David’s life, as the next anointed of God to lead Israel, to have someone taunting, cursing,and wanting to stone him.

Shimei was the name of Saul’s relative. He had a “right” to be mad at David, and at least he didn’t blame God for what happened. However, he made the mistake that David didn’t. He “touched” God’s anointed despite the fact that David said to let him rant and rave but would later upon his death bed tell Solomon to deal harshly with him.

How many times do we go off the handle and just blast people with words and things (curses and stone throwing) like Shimei without thinking of the harm that it does to the recipient as well as ourselves? As children most of us learned the phrase that sticks and stones break bones but words never hurt. Well, that is a huge lie! Wounds from injuries heal with time and medicine much faster than the lingering effects of hateful and harsh words.

The thing to do instead is to be like David and turn the other cheek. David could have rightfully had Shimei killed for his actions and words, but he chose to let the raving man continue his rant. The heart of David understood grace because of the many trials and troubles that God had delivered him from. Let us learn the art and beauty of “shining on” the evil actions of others meant to hurt us. It will be like Solomon said and will cause coals to heaped upon their heads. Another example is that of Jesus, who could’ve called down angels to wipe out those who conspired against him and executed him, but he prayed that God would forgive them because they didn’t really know what they did.

Father, teach me how to be gracious toward those who intend do me harm physically or mentally. I need to be a man of grace and not fire. For so long I went around sniping people with my words and actions, but oh how wrong I was! How many people did I destroy because of anger and hateful words that tear at the very heart of the targeted person? I have repented of those words and times, but it grieves my heart to know that I was once a man like Shimei. Help me to be like you, Jesus, a man who was meek and lowly and gentle with people in dealing with them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.