Right and wrong; these are concepts we learn early in life. Once learned, hopefully they will stay with us forever. However, DO NOT EXPECT OTHERS TO SHARE YOUR VALUES. If you do, you are in for a disappointment!!! Some people's values (right and wrong are just examples) are twisted by sin, which may exhibit itself in manifold ways. Selfishness, conceit, greed, lack of regard for the rights of others, and hatred are just a few of a very long list. Frankly, this topic has been among the most difficult for me to learn and the lessons it took to teach me this have given me much heartache and loss of sleep. When applied to "family", the pain associated with this is unbelievable. Recently, I read the following passage as part of my daily reading regime and it seems quite appropriate to list it here...
1 Samuel, Chapter 25
2 There was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail; and the woman was of good understanding, and of a beautiful face: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb. 4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 David sent ten young men, and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. 6 You shall tell him, ‘Long life to you! Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds have now been with us, and we didn’t hurt them, neither was there anything missing from them, all the while they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let the young men find favor in your eyes; for we come in a good day. Please give whatever comes to your hand, to your servants, and to your son David.’”
9 When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.
10 Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants who break away from their masters these days. 11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men who I don’t know where they come from?”
Every man put on his sword. David also put on his sword. About four hundred men followed David; and two hundred stayed by the baggage. 14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to Greet our master; and he railed at them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we anything, as long as we went with them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore know and consider what you will do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his house; for he is such a worthless fellow that one can’t speak to him.”
18 Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread, two bottles of wine, five sheep ready dressed, five measures of parched grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. 19 She said to her young men, “Go on before me. Behold, I come after you.” But she didn’t tell her husband, Nabal. 20 It was so, as she rode on her donkey, and came down by the covert of the mountain, that behold, David and his men came down toward her; and she met them.
21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him. He has returned me evil for good. 22 God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if I leave of all that belongs to him by the morning light so much as one who urinates on a wall.”
23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried, and alighted from her donkey, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet, and said, “On me, my lord, on me be the iniquity; and please let your handmaid speak in your ears. Hear the words of your handmaid. 25 Please don’t let my lord regard this worthless fellow, even Nabal; for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I, your handmaid, didn’t see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, since Yahweh has withheld you from blood guiltiness, and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now therefore let your enemies, and those who seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. 27 Now this present which your servant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your handmaid. For Yahweh will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord fights the battles of Yahweh; and evil shall not be found in you all your days. 29 Though men may rise up to pursue you, and to seek your soul, yet the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with Yahweh your God. He will sling out the souls of your enemies, as from the hollow of a sling. 30 It shall come to pass, when Yahweh has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and shall have appointed you prince over Israel, 31 that this shall be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. When Yahweh has dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid.”
32 David said to Abigail, “Blessed is Yahweh, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 Blessed is your discretion, and blessed are you, that have kept me this day from blood guiltiness, and from avenging myself with my own hand. 34 For indeed, as Yahweh, the God of Israel, lives, who has withheld me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely there wouldn’t have been left to Nabal by the morning light so much as one who urinates on a wall.”
35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him: and he said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. Behold, I have listened to your voice, and have granted your request.”
Luke, Chapter 6
27 “But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, don’t withhold your coat also. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again.
31 “As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.
36 “Therefore be merciful,
even as your Father is also merciful.
I have always tried to be good to other people. However, some people really don't deserve it. Their actions seem to cry out for punishment (as with Nabal above) and the easy thing to do would be to appoint yourself as judge, jury and executioner. Fortunately for David, he listened to Abagail's entreaty, accepted her gift and did no one harm. As it turned out, not long after this episode, God killed Nabal. Which is appropriate as the scripture says the following...
Romans, Chapter 12
19 Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.”
Jesus teaches us to do the right thing, regardless of who the person is- even an enemy!!! This is a tough one for me and sometimes my sense of Justice is inflamed when others act despicably. Who says following Jesus' teachings is necessarily easy. But, for the rest of my years on this Earth I will try!!! I just wish others would do the same. There I go again, expecting others to do good!!! Reality is: some people will always return evil for good and I have to accept that and deal with it!!!! Just one more thing to pray about. And, OH, yes- DO NOT GO INTO A LION'S CAGE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES- I DON'T THINK YOU WILL BE ABLE TO "REASON" WITH HIM!!!!!