Chapter Two, Part One
The Art of Forgiveness
I Samuel 16:13 NKJV
Psalm 7:1-5 NKJV
Psalm 27:1-6 NKJV
I Samuel 24:1-2 NIV
I Samuel 24:7 NIV
Grief is often one of the most ignored feelings on the planet. While we do grieve when we suffer a loss through death, we do not often allow ourselves to grieve other kinds of losses. As I’ve said before, when we do not deal with our feelings in appropriate ways, they tend to manifest themselves in ways that may not be understood by those around us.
The truth is, anytime forgiveness is needed there will (most likely) be a need to grieve.
Why is that?
Simply put, it’s because we get hurt. Depending on who the other person was, the hurt could be shallow or deep. If someone you care about and trust deeply hurt you, there will be grief involved.
As a boy,David the Shepherd went to live in King Saul’s palace because David’s music soothed the King. As a result of David living in the palace, he became best friends with Jonathan, King Saul’s son. As David grew older and wiser, King Saul came to distrust David.
There was a reason. In I Samuel 16:13, the Prophet Samuel anointed David to be the next King of Israel. From that point on, King Saul saw David as a danger and the King tried to kill David several times.
Especially in the early days after the Prophet Samuel anointed David to be the next King of Israel, David would have been hurt and confused. He had trusted Saul and now Saul was trying to kill him.
Even though the Lord continually protected David from Saul, the attacks from His previous mentor the king were so bad that David ended up having to go into hiding.
Running from the home David had known into the wilderness would have been a very painful time for David. Both Psalm 7 and Psalm 27 are attributed to being written by David when King Saul’s men were chasing after him (http://www.bibletrack.org/cgi-bin/bible.pl?incr=0&mo=5&dy=20).
In Psalm 7:1-5 we read:
“O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me, Lest they tear me like a lion, Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver. O Lord my God, if I have done this: If there is iniquity in my hands, If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, Or have plundered my enemy without cause, Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; Yes, let him trample my life to the earth, And lay my honor in the dust. Selah.”
David trusted God but at the same time he wrote about his persecutor (King Saul) tearing his soul as a lion would tear flesh. David was deeply grieving Saul’s assaults!
Again, David wrote of King Saul’s attacks in Psalm 27:1-6:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me, To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.”
David’s enemy was King Saul and His armies that he sent to kill David. All of that was done because the Prophet Samuel had anointed David to be the next King of Israel.
David suffered greatly because the man he had looked up to (Saul) was now out to kill him! While David grieved in Psalm 27, we see that his trust in God is growing. In Psalm 27 David is looking past the suffering of today. He has come to realize that God is his protector and he will spend eternity with God. While he still grieves his enemies (Saul) chasing him, his trust in God is growing.
In I Samuel 24:1b-2 we read, “After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.”
Really, Saul sent 3,000 men to kill David who had given him nothing but kindness?
Then, in I Samuel 24:7b, “David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul.”
Still, David refused to let his men kill Saul.
What kind of pain would that have brought David? Yet still, he forgave Saul. When we are deeply hurt by those we trusted and loved, we will grieve deeply. We must grieve and let God heal us. At the same time, we must forgive. Even though we hurt and we are grieving, we choose to say to God, “I forgive them.”
That’s exactly what David chose to do. He grieved what Saul tried to do to him, and he forgave Saul.
We are called to the very same task.
There are times when we will grieve, and we choose to forgive.
In that moment, God takes over and begins the process of healing us. Sometimes it’s an instant healing, and sometimes it comes over time. But because we let go of the wrong, God takes over.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Grieve
If you are carrying pain from something done to you, take your grief to God and ask God to heal you. Tell God you forgive that person.
In God, Deborah