David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun just as his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent ambassadors to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death. – 2 Samuel 10:2
David had a close ally in the friend of King Nahash, but his son, Hanun, distrusted David’s gesture of sympathy in the form of the envoys he sent. David sent the envoys to show his deep respect for the deceased king, but the new king’s advisors deceived him into thinking they were actually spies sent to reconnoiter the city for a later assault by enemy forces. The story would go on to show that Hanun joined forces with many Aramean kings in the area to attack Israel but were routed by the Israelites in a great defeat. What started out as a token gesture of deep respect and sympathy, turned out to be a huge military embarrassment for the losers and cost them many lives. So it would seem that the adage that no good deed goes unpunished may be true at times.
Have you ever done a good deed to someone only to have that person or someone else berate you for it? to scold you for it? to accuse you of ulterior motives? I have! I’m sure that most people who have kind, generous hearts have had their intentions and good deeds spat back in their face for any number of reasons. However, Jesus told us that we are to press on when people treat contrarily to how we should be treated.
He said, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48 NKJV)
What more need be said than to love your enemy and do good to all? Jesus said elsewhere to treat others in the same way you want to be treated, even if they don’t treat you that way in return. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves regardless of what they do. We are also to show honor where honor is due, even if someone doesn’t believe us or like us. We are to do all within our power to love and keep loving. It’s that simple, really. Didn’t Jesus love us all the way to the cross and to the grave and to the right hand of the Father where he is ever interceding for us? Yes! His great deed didn’t go unpunished because many still to this day refuse to accept the gift of love and eternal life that he’s given to humanity to save them from a tormenting eternity in a demon’s hell!
Father, you give us life! You give us everything we need! For all this we thank you and cherish you. We love you because you first loved us. Without you there can be no love. Thus, when people stomp on us and truly persecute us or refuse our love, help us to know that we’ve done the right thing in spite of their disdain and hatred. Your sermon on the mountain side speaks loudly to us today in that we are to love, keep on loving, and love some more, especially if things are not going as we think they should or are treated terribly for doing the right things. It is discouraging at times to have our good deeds punished by those that despise us, but we know that remaining faithful and true to you will have its own reward – eternity with you! May your will be done, not ours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.