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Dealing with Difficult People (I Samuel 26)
I Samuel 26, The saga of David and Saul continues. David is presented with an additional opportunity to slay Saul. However, once again he operates by principle and not revenge. Responding with restraint demonstrates faith that God will handle the injustice without our involvement.
While checking his bags at the airport, a man became indignant with the employee who handled luggage. For several minutes he belittled the young man and criticized his every move. Surprisingly, the curbside porter didn't seem troubled by this man's verbal abuse. After the angry man entered the airport, a woman approached the luggage handler and asked, "How do you put up with such injustice?" The young man said, "It's easy. That guy's going to Indiana, but I'm sending his bags to India."
People react differently to injustice as the story illustrates. While some may retaliate, others only seek peace as is seen in David's life. Yet again, Saul was in pursuit of David and had come close to capturing David several times, yet God always provided escape for David. I Samuel 26 illustrates a second time that David had the opportunity to seek revenge on Saul, but again he refused to harm God's man and instead sought to reconcile his relationship with Saul.
David could have easily retaliated or become angry. After all, Saul had asked David's forgiveness before and had even sought his blessing on Saul's family after David became king. Yet Saul was controlled by his anger and it led him to pursue David again. Would Saul never learn? David could have ended the battle once and for all, but sought reconciliation rather than retaliation.
People usually deal with injustices in one of three ways.
1. Some people retreat. Have you ever met someone who was hurt by another person and withdrew from social interaction? Perhaps they sought to do right, or be kind, and were met with an attack. Such actions can easily cause a person to withdraw and refuse to show kindness to others.
2. Some people respond with retaliation. Human nature often urges us to seek revenge when wronged. Retaliating feels good to our flesh. We were wronged, so we rationalize it's only fair that the other people feel our pain as well. There's something almost soothing about inflicting pain on those who wrong us. Yet God directly commands us to reject the urge to retaliate and allow Him to handle wrongdoings.
3. Some respond with restraint. God's desire for our reaction to injustice is through restraint. As Psalm 3:7 says, "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." If David was looking for an excuse to retaliate against Saul, he had one, yet he chose to leave Saul's punishment in God's hands.
Reacting with restraint shows a level of faith that God will take care of the injustice without our involvement. God sees the injustices in your life, and even though you may not see retaliation immediately, God will have the final say in the matter. Trust Him to make right the wrongs, and choose to respond in restraint.
PRAYER: Lord, there have been times in life that I have been wronged. Through those times You’ve taught me that You will handle it better than I could. Help me to remember that when someone in my life is difficult to deal with, I need to turn them over to You. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.