Believing the worst

1 Now it happened afterwards that the king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son became king in his place. 2 Then David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent some of his servants to console him concerning his father. But when David’s servants came to the land of the Ammonites, 3 the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David is honoring your father because he has sent consolers to you? Has David not sent his servants to you in order to search the city, to spy it out and overthrow it?”

2 Samuel 10: 1- 3

David had good intentions and proper motives. He was sending servants into the land of the Ammonites to offer his condolences for the loss of the new king’s father. Grateful for their help in times gone by, David wanted to honor a man who had helped him in his time of need.

All it took, however, for this deed to be perverted and twisted was the simple suspicions of a prince. “What do they want?” A palm-full of bitterness held by a single man transformed into a completely unfounded misconception that eventually gave way to a battle where there was much bloodshed.

How often have we done this to someone in our lives? They present us with offers of help or encouragement, and because we’ve been hurt in the past, we allow our flesh’s emotions to dictate how we view the situation. Instead of seeing things for how they actually are, the eyes of our resentment, spite, or jealousy take over and report everything from their sinful sight.

“I’m sure I know why he’s helping me stack up chairs. Probably feels guilty for ignoring me last Sunday.”

“Oh, umhmm. She’s just sucking up asking me out for coffee. She knows she was hateful not responding to my text yesterday.”

While petty examples, these are often all we need to develop a sense of assuming the worst. We don’t even need people to speak death into our situations because most of the time we do it for them.

We like to hold onto what people have done and hang it over their heads, filtering everything they do through that one lens.

“He didn’t say ‘hi’ when I walked by at church. What a self-righteous jerk.”

“Who did she think she was telling me this and that about my spiritual walk? She ain’t my mama. I can’t stand when people act like they know me.”

We’ve got to give our emotions back to Christ, brothers and sisters. When we allow pettiness and drama to seep into our faith walks, we give the devil and our flesh a foothold to stomp around. Yes, we need to be discerning in all situations, but are we analyzing people’s motives with our hearts or with our spirits? And the two cannot be mixed up. The heart wants immediate compensation whereas the spirit wants functional faith.

Lord, You are the Righteous Judge and Good Father, our Shepherd and our Guide. In this story of David we see where the distorted perspective of a couple of men settling in the heart of a king led to much trial and death. While our decisions most likely won’t result in a physical battle, we can trust that each choice we make either brings us closer to you or takes us a step closer to the father of lies. 

May You give us the wisdom and the patience to inspect our hearts. Give us a willingness to see things as they are, rather than what our hurts or frustrations say. Teach us to know Your voice by our actively reading Your Word and seeking Your face. Thank you, Holy Spirit.


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