"Snippets" from David

The Measure of A Person

Small people divide.  Huge people heal.  Anyone can cause division (justly or unjustly).  It takes qualities of humble greatness to heal.  Small people hiding behind their insecurities divide.  Great people never let their needs or ambitions become a barrier to healing.  Selfishness makes one small.  Kindness makes one significant.

Perhaps there are few (if any) greater evidences of division than a civil war.  Perhaps there are few (if any) greater evidences of healing than forming oneness after a civil war.  Wars are easy to start, but they are hard to end.  Wars deepen the wounds of divisions and make healing extremely difficult.

After King Saul’s death, the nation endured an open civil war.  On one side, Abner defended Saul’s descendant in Israel.  On the other side, David was made King of Judah.   Useless antagonisms deepened the wound and division.  (Read this incident in 2 Samuel 3:6 on.)

David’s earnest ambition was to heal the nation under his leadership.  Abner was insulted by Ish-bosheth, the king whom Abner defended and protected.  Abner was so offended by Ish-boseth’s insult that he contacted David.  Abner said, “Make a covenant with me, and I will make you king over everyone in Israel.  Is it not I who control all who oppose you?”

Take note of David’s actions to bring this civil war to an end.  He could have said to Abner, “I want an unconditional surrender.”  He could have tried to totally humiliate his enemy.  He could have been led by greed or an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

David did none of these.  He had genuine respect for Abner, and he showed his respect.  He made himself vulnerable by trusting Abner’s word.  He was moved by God’s promises and by the awareness of all Israel’s loss of life if the war continued.  He really understood that vengeance did not serve the best interest of the nation.  In Joab’s treachery, David still became king, but he declared himself weak.

It is easy to dedicate ourselves to making “trouble” rather than making “peace.”  Too often we do this out of a sense of fear.  In this society and its mindset, we deceive ourselves into thinking we will be (1) respected and remembered by making trouble and (2) forgotten by making peace.

Consider some questions.  What is the value of being remembered if we are remembered for negative reasons?  If the good we did continues to bless others after we die, was not our life worthwhile?  What is the significance of a life people only associate with grief and tragedy?  What is the value of a life remembered, but which people say the world would have been better if you had not been born?  Is anything bigger than you?

A few of the worst people ever known are remembered.  A few of the best people ever known are remembered.  By far, most people—good or bad—are forgotten after they die.  Are you not glad that many of the “forgotten” people blessed your life and continue to live through your kindness?

Do you have the courage to live your life for the good of others—even if no one remembers you?  It takes courage to make peace.  It takes nothing to divide.

15 May, 2007
David Chadwell

David's Home Page Table of Contents Next Snippet