Life lessons in mercy
This past Sunday we heard the story about David on the run from King Saul, who was jealous and wanted to kill him. David at last had the opportunity to end it all by killing his pursuer, but choose not to. Although David was prompted by his friend to use Saul’s spear to stab him in his sleep, David decided that it wasn’t his place to choose whether or not Saul died. David felt Saul’s punishment should be left to the divine wisdom of God. There are a few things we can take away from this story.
1. Don’t let vengeance and worldly wisdom consume you. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of a vendetta when you –or someone close to you, or even just someone you identify with — is seriously wronged. Almost anything can seem justified if it means a wrongdoer is punished. Sometimes no punishment seems severe enough to address the wrong. David had done nothing to harm Saul, and kept asking Saul why he was trying to kill him even though David was his devoted servant. David was a man after God’s own heart, and showed mercy in spite of Saul’s grievous wrong.
2. Have faith that God knows what He’s doing. One of David’s reasons for not harming Saul was that, in spite of all he’d done, Saul was God’s chosen king of Israel. God could have forced Saul off the throne in any number of ways, but Saul was still king. David had faith that Saul would die when God wanted him to die; David didn’t have to hurry things along. God has a plan for everyone’s life, but too often we like to tinker with God’s plan and dictate where we think lives should go. Since we’re not God we end up getting horribly lost.
3. Have hope for redemption. David had hope that Saul would eventually see reason and stop trying to kill him. For a a while David was right, until Saul snapped again. David knew there’d be no chance for Saul’s redemption if he killed him. When Saul did eventually die in battle, it was because of his own failings and lack of faith. He was given many chances by God and by David to change his ways. In our own lives, we can’t let a blind drive for justice or vengeance prevent us from offering paths of redemption for people we see as wrongdoers. It’s our duty as God’s faithful to help as many people get into heaven as possible. Remember, Jesus told us to “love our enemies”. Justice is important, and we should pursue it — but we must always remember to be driven by mercy as well.