I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead….(2 Sa 19:6).
Have you ever assumed you knew someone’s intentions and then judged them for it? I have. Have you ever thought so poorly of them that you were sure their intentions were birthed out of their own self-righteousness when all the while the biggest sinner was not them, but you? Yeah, that’s been me too. I wish this was something in my past, but I’m just not quite there yet. Oh Lord, forgive me.
As Joab approaches King David he makes many assumptions birthed in selfish self-righteousness. He doesn’t listen or attempt to understand what David is going through. He makes quick judgments on David instead. He tells David what he is doing wrong. He doesn’t listen to David’s pain and try to understand why David is feeling the way that he is.
Joab tells David he is wrong for mourning the death of his son Absalom. Yet, Joab must have forgotten that David commanded his troops to keep Absalom safe if he was captured in battle. As Absalom hung helplessly in a tree caught by his hair It was Joab’s own hand that drove a spear through Absalom’s heart. Now it is Joab’s own hand driving a spear through the heart of David as he tries to stand in the place of judge over him.
In our own selfishness, we do not know how to listen to hurting people, driving a spear further through their presently bleeding hearts. We have our own agendas and ideas that are of greater importance. To us, it seems more appropriate to fix them instead of listening to them and what their needs are. Joab did not respect David’s wishes. He took matters into his own hands and completely disregarded David’s wishes.
Whenever we treat someone like a problem to be fixed and not a person to care for we neglect one of the most fundamental elements of the gospel- to love broken people. Did not Jesus go to those who were on the fringes of society? Did He not extend love, care, and concern to those whom the world had put out and rejected? Why then, do we feel its necessary to fix people instead of coming alongside them in Christ-like love? Maybe its because we think we know better. At the root of our intentions lies not love, but self-righteousness. I can say this because I see it in my own heart.
I have thought to myself, “If they were just more like me or if they just did things how I would do them or if they would just listen and follow my council their life would be so much better!” All the while we further polarize ourselves from people, making them feel stupid. One of the greatest keys to unlock the hurt in people is to learn how to listen well. Sometimes what a person needs is not your council, but your silence found in the stillness of your presence.
Are we not the aroma of Christ? Are we not a city on a hill? Why then do we believe our greatest efforts for God are found when our mouths are flapping? Maybe our greatest efforts for God are found in the stillness of being His presence to the world around us as His representatives.
Jesus, I know I have flapped my mouth far too often when what a person really needed was just my presence. Sometimes I flap my mouth because I think I know better. Other times I do it because I’m operating out of anxiety. God, I need your grace. I want to live with a heart that fully trusts you and cares well for other people, in Jesus name, Amen!