“Don’t pay attention to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you, for in your heart you know that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (CSB)
Sticks and stones may break your bones but Shimei, the son of Gera, from the house of Saul may have not gotten the memo that names will never hurt David. Nestled in the story of Absalom’s rebellion against his father, King David, there’s this moment in 2 Samuel 16…
“Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The LORD is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. At last, you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!” (2 Samuel 16:7-8)
Shimei wasn’t wrong about David. For everything good about the king there’s that one time with Uriah the Hittite, but as far as the rest of Shimei’s accusation goes, King David is pretty much innocent to what has happened to Saul’s clan. And even though David understands that, through the rebuke from Nathan the prophet, God isn’t gonna stop any of the rebellion that will occur in David’s house, this will be one time where David will show grace under pressure. Even when one of his mighty warriors, Abishai, wants to remove the head of Shimei from his shoulders, it’ll be David who says, “Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it.”
Now please allow me this, but that response from David, that ain’t me. I don’t handle that kinda stuff too well and I tend to get bent outta shape real quick when it happens (yes, when it happens) but I gotta remember this, for everything good about me, I got my Uriah the Hittite moments too. I can try and rest my laurels on that “sinner saved by grace” or “saint who occasionally sins” stuff all I want but the truth of the matter is the worldly pride that still exists deep within me wants to be vindicated and I need to even the score. What a wretched man I can be!
However, when we take all this to God’s Word, we will find instruction on how to deal with those who seemingly go outta their way to throw their stones and announce their curses. David’s son, Solomon, reminds us in Ecclesiastes that we’re just as guilty as the person who is armed with their sticks and stones. Solomon will share his conclusion, “But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) With this kinda wisdom we too can concluded that we shouldn’t take to heart everything that folks would say about us and we should be careful asking others what people say about us.
Matthew 6:12, within the model prayer recited by Jesus says, “and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” This isn’t a small thing to blurt out, this is to be taken seriously. Jesus will remind all of us, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) And I’ll dare to go further and say the reason why we get so bothered by what others falsely say about us is because somewhere along our lines we haven’t really been too forgiving ourselves…just sayin’
So, yeah sometimes we hear others say bad things about us. I almost wanna type, “So What”, and truly rest in it but I would be lying. The key to it all is having a good sense of discernment and that good comes from God, Himself. Solomon will give us this in Ecclesiastes 7:5, “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.” So, since Solomon got his wisdom from God, it is better to rest in these words than for a man to rest in his “So What’s”.
At the end of the day God has called us into His peace which is a deep, spiritual calm that is unstained by the world around us. We can have this too if we pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ and doing what we can to take on His character. Jesus got accused of a lot of things and yet He didn’t even the score. Speaking of which, our friend, Shimei, from earlier on…you should turn to 1Kings 2:8-9 and read for yourself how David wanted him handled then on to verses 36-46. What’s your conclusion on the matter?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life: in himself, nothing; In God, everything. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring.” — A.W. Tozer