5 05 2006


2 Samuel 10:1-4 (NIV) 1 In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. 2 David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.       When David’s men came to the land of the Ammonites, 3 the Ammonite nobles said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you to express sympathy? Hasn’t David sent them to you to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?” 4 So Hanun seized David’s men, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away.

Hanun’s father had been kind to David when he was in exile from Saul.  Now that David was in a position to repay that kindness, he wanted to show respect in honoring the death of Hanun’s father.  But, living in fear and insecurity, they distrusted David’s motives and deliberately insulted his ambassadors.  

This, in itself, became a self-fulfilling prophecy, for the two countries went to war.  The Israelites defeated not just the Ammonites, but the Arameans and all the other allies.

Why do people expect the worst of others?  Why don’t we give people the benefit of the doubt?  Why do we think others are out to get us?  Why do we expect the worst?

Most people do not harbor evil in their hearts.  Most people are kind, gracious, and seeking to ingratiate themselves to others.  Yes, we make mistakes, we step on toes, and we don’t always make the best choices – but rarely is it because we mean malice towards others.

In my 20s I hung around some women that were always at war with one another.  They harbored deep resentments, bitterness, and rage towards one another.  And the sad thing is that they let everyone around them know how much they “hated” the other(s).  There was a lot of gossip, slander, and defensiveness.  There whole life was consumed by the conflict with the other women – people who used to be their best friends.  

It usually revolved around money, men, or other friendships.  It was a big soap opera scandal.  I think that if they didn’t have this conflict to talk about, they wouldn’t have had anything to talk about.  I’ve heard it said that quality (intelligent) people talk about ideas, others talk about people.

When I learned more about this group of women who were always at war with one another, I learned that they tended to spend their time watching daytime soap operas on TV.  That explained a lot.  Most soap operas revolve around constant conflict – multiple relationships with multiple conflicts.

By beholding we become changed.  These women were constantly watching conflict on TV and they were becoming what they watched.

Hanun and his men lived in fear and insecurity.  They were seeking to invade others and so they thought others were seeking to invade them.  This fear in their hearts left them cynical, distrusting, and looking to take the advantage.

David, on the other hand, lived in relative peace and security.  He had no imperial designs and he trusted in the Lord to protect him.  It would have never occurred to him that his ambassadors of peace would be misunderstood.  He was just following the Golden Rule.

I feel more like David than I do Hanun.  But that has changed.  I used to be very mistrusting and misunderstanding.  I still have some work to do in this area though.

I like the example of Jesus.  Despite the fact that He knew Judas was about to betray Him, that didn’t stop Jesus from being open, transparent, and trusting of Judas.  He knew that Judas could not hurt Him that all His strength was in His Father.

I want all my strength to be in my Father too!

Father God, today, once again, I surrender to you.  Wrap me in your protective grace and lead me into Your eternal presence.

I love you too, gw




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