In retaliatory mode – and garbled facts to boot

By Dave Henning / December 24, 2019

When we are in a retaliatory mode and motivated by hatred, we easily garble the facts.  Truth be told, facts don’t matter; what matters is that we make life miserable for the person we hate.”- Charles Swindoll

“When the king got to Bahurim, a man appeared who had connections with Saul’s family.  His name was Shimei son of Gera.  As he followed along, he shouted insults and threw rocks right and left at David and his company, servants and soldiers alike.  To the accompaniment of curses, he shouted, ‘Get lost, get lost, you butcher . . .”- 2 Samuel 16:5-7 (MSG)

In Chapter 5 (“What If . . . Someone Kicks You When You’re Down”) of What If . . . God Has Other Plans?, Charles Swindoll applies God’s Word to situations where you face criticism.  At times, you simply consider the source, shrug it off, and press on.  But, at other times you find the pain so deep you doubt your ability to go on.  Because someone stabbed you in the back – or applauded as your pain worsened.

So, while fleeing from Absalom’s merciless coup, King David experienced the ultimate devastating blow.  Shimei, from the same clan as Saul’s family, stepped out of hiding to kick David while he was down.  However, in retaliatory mode, Shimei garbled the facts.  For example, he claimed that David caused bloodshed in the house of Saul and stole Saul’s throne from him.  Lie after lie after lie spewed from the mouth of this hate-filled man.

Above all, Pastor Swindoll stresses, carnality – without fail – complicates situations.  To respond out of our own sense of justice, pride, or anger never produces good results.  Neither do friends all too eager to grab their sharp verbal knives to slice their way to your defense.  Although you may feel vindicated by their actions, such friends fail to show sensitivity to the Lord’s will.  As they react in anger, they go to retaliatory extremes – only making matters worse.

Weakened by wounds, it’s tempting to listen to their advice.  Instead, Pastor Swindoll exhorts, take a cue from David’s response.  He knew the Lord sovereignly designed this encounter to teach David valuable lessons.  Thus, David took the high road.

Today’s question: What Scriptures turn thing around when you’re in retaliatory mode?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The injustice of unwarranted criticism”

About the author

Dave Henning

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