Someone once said,
We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive.
Archibald Hart, a Christian counselor says,
Forgiveness is surrendering my right to hurt you for hurting me.
Talking about David over the past couple of months has led to several posts and sermons on forgiveness. So it is not my intention to beat a dead horse. I don’t think I am singing a new song when I say that talking about forgiveness is a touchy subject. Many would prefer to hold a grudge than to forgive. I am certainly no expert in this, since I am not a trained counselor. I can only speak from almost 40 years experience as a pastor and an observer of people. I can say with all that is in me: people seem to prefer- no matter how much it hurts them- to carry grudges and the desire for revenge, sometimes to their grave. One of the greatest blessings a person can do is forgive, but I am not naive enough to think it is an easy thing to do.
Some people have the ability to do that easier than others. Depends on personality. Depends on the offense. Depends, for many, on the strength of their relationship to Jesus. I don’t say this to brag so I hope you don’t take it that way, but God has blessed me with the ability to forgive fairly easily. Granted, it may take a little time as I work through my thoughts, burn down a house, spread rumors, etc (I jest, I jest), but I realize it is not healthy to maintain the grudge. I have literally seen people eaten alive by the failure to forgive and I just don’t want to be in those shoes.
Have you ever heard of Shimei? No? Check him out here. He was just a spittin’ and a fumin’ over David’s rule. He threw stones. Kicked up some dust. Taunted. Maybe even said a few choice words. David chose not to lash out. But when David returns to Jerusalem to resume his reign, Shimei sure sang a different tune. David forgave him and let him live. Say what? Yep, he let him live. Good thing too. David could have made short work of Shimei and his cohorts quickly.
Showing mercy was a sign of strength. Not a sign of weakness like so many think today. Being the “bigger man” is a good idea. I would be remiss to leave out one vital end part. David is giving his last minute talk to Solomon when he says this. Honestly? I don’t know what to make of that. It is sad to think of the singer of Israel approaching his final days with revenge on his lips.
What are your thoughts about this? I sure am open to hearing your thoughts. Do you forgive easily or tend to hold grudges?