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Saturday, August 9, 2014

I Forgave King David


I have never liked King David from the Bible.

As a self-righteous teenager who was very much proud of my own lack of visible sin problems, I just let my heart develop this real hardness toward King David because all I knew about him boiled down to this:

1. As a young teenager he killed Goliath with his slingshot and a rock. (I know the rock didn't kill him, but that was my perception.)

2.  He was a man "after God's own heart." (I didn't even know what that meant, but I was vaguely aware that it meant everyone else apparently liked him.)

3.  He slept with Bathsheba and murdered her husband to try to cover it up. (My naive self used to think of adultery as the absolute WORST sin ever.)

4.  His love-child died, but after that his life was peachy again. (My mean pitiless self actually felt like he deserved the death of his child - after becoming a parent, I know that the death of a child would be an awful, terrible punishment, and NO ONE ever deserves that.)

5. He wrote a bunch of the Psalms. (That's actually true.)

I was a high schooler who didn't struggle with purity problems because I had never had a boyfriend.  I wish someone had told me this:
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This year I've been reading the One Year Bible, and as I began the story of David, I told John, "I can feel that God wants to change my heart toward King David.  It's going to be big."  I even confessed this issue to my Bible study group back when I was pregnant with Karis and we did the Priscilla Shirer "Jonah" study.  One of the wise women said, "Oh Kelly, if you think of David and Bathsheba as more important than you think of David and Goliath, then that's a heart problem."  I nodded.  I knew it.  I just wasn't ready to forgive him yet.  John finds it super silly that I had a forgiveness problem with a dead person.  I did though.  I really loathed the fact that David was so popular even though in my plank-filled eyes, he was such a perv.  I detested the thought that it was a good thing that Jesus came from his blood line.  When pastors would preach about David, I would just kind of mentally check out a little bit, like what they taught was somehow less important or useful because David was included.  When I saw that a psalm was written by David, I'd roll my eyes and put up a little heart shield that said "This psalm means nothing to me because that heinous David wrote it."  I was such a prideful Bible snob!  I was unteachable in this area for the last 15 years of my life.   Isn't that an awful shame?  I am shaking my head at myself.

Then, fortunately, a few months ago, (I began this post in May, but then we moved, and life has just been non-stop since) God put me back in my place.

I had never read David's entire life story from beginning to end before.  I didn't know anything about him other than the 5 things listed above.  I judged him, harshly, based on those things.  I didn't know how so stinking respectful he was to Saul, and repeatedly spared Saul's life, even as Saul was trying to kill him in 1 Samuel 24, 1 Samuel 26!  I didn't know how amazingly wise he was to continually ask God before doing something if it was a good idea or not in 1 Samuel 23, 2 Samuel 2 and multiple other passages.  I didn't know how David mourned the death of Saul and Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1.  I didn't know that he gave God the glory for so many of his victories:
2 Samuel 5:19 So David asked the Lord, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The Lord replied to David, “Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.”
20 So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). 21 The Philistines had abandoned their idols there, so David and his men confiscated them.

I didn't connect that David wrote so many psalms as praises to the Lord until I read this in 2 Samuel 7. I didn't know that he hunted down Saul's family to try to be kind to them on purpose in 2 Samuel 9. I didn't know that he loved his kids so much that he let them rise up and try to steal his kingdom and then was so brokenhearted when his son Absolom was killed in battle trying to overtake his father's throne in 2 Samuel 18 and 19!  David lived longer and had a few other sin problems and few other victories for the Lord.

You know what I hyper-focused on knowing? I knew about David's sin with Bathsheba from 2 Samuel 11, and I judged David's entire life based on that mistake.

It broke my heart as I realized that I love so many people here on earth now because I know their whole story.  I forgive them, I even respect and admire some people I know really well (family and friends) who have also committed adultery, lied, and done many other unloving things.  I love them, and forgave them almost immediately after hearing of their adultery, because I know them, I know their whole story, and I know the amazing way they make their family work despite it all.  I know the forgiveness, the heart ache, and the consequences of their actions, and the joy and love on the other side, and I just love them.  However, I judged King David like nobody's business.  I didn't even know his whole story!  It was a huge reminder to never judge people based on the tiny slice of the pie that I see, because I will probably never know their entire life story.  Some people have had awful, tough, difficult lives, and what I see is only a sliver of what they are experiencing.  That old cliche phrase about walking a mile in someone else's shoes, has got a lot of truth behind it!  God changed my heart on this right as we were moving to Somerville a few months ago, but I have been so busy with the kids and trying to figure out how to juggle all of the things we deal with now that I had not made time to edit and post this.

 Then John preached an excellent sermon on forgiveness (part of a series on the Lord's Prayer), and he spoke specifically on the following verses:

Matthew 6:12-15New Living Translation (NLT)

12 and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[a]
    but rescue us from the evil one.[b]
14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Ephesians 4:32New Living Translation (NLT)

32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Then John (my cute hubby preacher) said this:
"Jesus is saying that if you don't know show mercy, 
then you don't know mercy.
If you don't show grace, then you don't know grace.  
If you don't show love, then you don't know love.
If you don't show forgiveness, then you don't know forgiveness."

He's right.  Who have you been reluctant to forgive? If Jesus can forgive us of all our filthiness, than how dare we refuse to forgive someone else?  Looking at the cross puts everything back into perspective.  Realize the extent that God showed his mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness and extend it to others.

Others = ALL PEOPLE. 

I thought this was a great article about speaking and showing love to the immigrants our country is receiving:  Speaking Christianly About the Unaccompanied Children Crisis.

I will leave you with this thought.  I didn't forgive David, because I was judging him instead of loving him and the redemptive work God did in his life.  Who are you unable to love today because you are too busy judging them?
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Please don't think that I go around judging others all the time.  I really don't.  I was just hanging on to judging David for way too long, and felt God asking me to share it with people.