Friday, January 24, 2014

Great Is the Generosity

By Melanie Rigney

(Saul said to David:) “You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm. Great is the generosity you showed me today, when the Lord delivered me into your grasp and you did not kill me. For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed?” (1 Samuel 24:18-20)
Have mercy on me, God, have mercy. (Psalm 57:2)
(Jesus) appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. (Mark 3:14-15)

Lord, help me to be charitable to my enemies, even when I catch them off their guard and at a total disadvantage.

Who is the biggest enemy you’ve ever had in your life, not counting yourself? Perhaps it’s person who injured you or a loved one physically. Or maybe it’s the person who successfully wooed the man or woman you considered the love of your life, or that annoyingly perfect person who always manages to ace you out of promotions at work or plum assignments in ministry. What would you do if you had the opportunity to rid yourself of that enemy once and for all, to exact retribution and wipe him or her off the face of the earth forever?

That felt good for a moment or two, didn’t it, imagining that person getting his or her just desserts?

Now think of David, one of most magnificent, flawed people we meet in the Bible. Saul’s been hunting him down with three thousand of Israel’s finest. But when David has the advantage of surprise, he does nothing more than cut off an end of Saul’s cloak. He confronts Saul, and says he will leave it to God to determine the ruler, hardly what one would expect of a cunning military tactician.

It seems insanely risky, this decision of David’s to let Saul go when he could have permanently destroyed his one-time mentor. Yet it typifies David’s grand faith, his total ability to trust more in God than in himself, on those occasions when he resisted his impulses to act rashly and worry about the consequences later. May we do the same in our relationships with friend and foe alike.

Pray today for a current or former enemy—and for yourself, that the venom inside you may be released and replaced with compassion.

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