How to Deal with People Who Don’t Like You
“Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets. But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:26-28
Intro: Today we are pick up a story about David being pursued by his enemy Saul. On the Western side of the Dead Sea about 35 miles southeast of Jerusalem to an oasis. The spring water of Engedi is a source for aromatic plants used to make perfumes and medicinal suave. This was a major trade route along the road to Jerusalem near Engedi there was a cave.
The bible teaches in several places “How to Deal with People Who Don’t Like You.”
This story of David demonstrates to us how he trusted God to do that. David is hiding in a cave from Saul.
Because Saul is coming for his life. Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David. At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds. Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. (There is no nicer way to say that, you get the picture.) But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!
“Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the LORD is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.
Saul represents the person who liked David when he first met David. When Saul would be troubled in his soul He would call from music. David would come and play the harp and sing and calm his spirit.
Have you had people when you first meet them they just eat you up. I mean you are the best person they have ever met. You are a God send. You are the greatest and in a few weeks or months, something changes and they don’t like you. Has that ever happened to anyone in the room?
Saul’s son Jonathan played together. Saul’s son Jonathan and David were like brothers. Saul treated David like a son. When the Philistine army came to fight against Saul, when everyone else feared the Philistines it was David who went out and fought Goliath and won.
It is pretty easy for us to identify the way and the time when this love bromance turned sour. When David came in from the battle field after killing Goliath the women came out from the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing with joyful songs and tambourines. As they danced they sang: “Saul has slain thousands…, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul became jealous and became very angry. Saul was bitter and resentful. Saul was angry that the people credited David ten times more than him. The bible says “from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.” 1 Samuel 18:9
Some of Saul’s servants said to him, “An evil spirit has been sent to torment you” which sometimes sent Saul into depression and sometimes made him “rave like a madman.” On more than one occasion Saul got so angry at David, he took a spear and threw it at David - just missing him.
This is where we pickup in our scripture text today in 1Samuel 19. The story takes a turn from bad to worse, as Saul began to pursue David with his army to kill him. To make things worse the Prophet Samuel who had anointed Saul as King prophecies that David will become the future King of Israel. So to say that Saul who once loved David as a son no longer liked David is an understatement.
As a side note for those of you who want much more out of this story and to take a deeper look at your own life most opinions about Saul make him out to be the villain in this story. He is presented as a very one-dimensional character, a flawed ruler, a crazy madman. Yes, we know that Saul had rejected God and therefore God’s favor turns to David to become the future King and thus the lineage by which Jesus the Son of God would come into the world. But in a strange twist of fate while Saul sinned against God so later did David. What irony!
The real paradox is why did God invest in Saul and choose Saul to be the King? Might not God have ordained him to be just as great as his successor David would be? Could not God have easily brought about the messianic line through Saul instead of David? It was possible that Saul could have been part of the messianic line because the punishment for Saul’s transgression are forgivable by the mercy and grace of God. Instead of Jesus being called the son of David, he could have been called the son of Saul.
This may seem unlikely but biblical scholars I have study from seminary like Brueggemann, Youngblood, Hertzburg would beg us compare and contrast Saul and David and to re-read the whole story. (I know you did not have time to read their works on the subject this week, so I did it for you. So take my word on it.)
It is more difficult to imagine God establishing Saul as king with the possibility to rule forever and then at the same time God was secretly waiting to dispose of Saul so as to establish David.
The point I am making is this: God is a God of forgiveness. No matter whether it is Saul who sins, or David who sins, or you and or I who sins. Saul on the other hand is never thought of as Saul the repenter or Saul the “the forgiver.” That is not a title ever attributed to describe him in any interpretation or commentary.
That is the difference between the two types of people you and I will deal with in the world we live in today. Yes, maybe David was a guilty of basking in the glory of the victory from the battle. A referee would have been justified in giving David a technical foul for too much celebration in the end zone but the difference is later David had a contrite and repentant heart, where Saul on the other hand never let up. Saul never could see his own mistakes. Saul never once came to David and said, you know when I took that spear and jabbed it into the wall next to your head, I could have been wrong. David witnessed a king who had stood in favor with God and Saul had sadly lost the beautiful communion with God. When David later took Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah murdered. David remembered Saul’s situation and he wrote these words Psalm 51:11 “do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me”
There is something for you to take home and compare and contrast the life of Saul with the life of David And you will realize they had a lot more in common than they were different.
That is the first lesson you have to learn…, when you want to know “How to Deal with People Who Don’t Like You.”
If you say, “I am nothing like them” then maybe it is time to spend more time looking in the mirror.
Bill worked at a factory with Ted. Bill was one of those people who was always in the right. He was also very opinionated, and very vocal. For about a month Bill and Ted had been getting on one another’s nerves and things kept escalating. Ted would often just nod his head and say something like you are entitled to your opinion. Most of the time when the conversation got heated Ted would end his break early and just walk away. One day Ted had had enough so he stood up and said, “Listen Bill I have had about all I can take. I don’t want to hear your opinions anymore.”
Bill also stood up. He said, How dare you stand up to me. He reached across the table and shoved Ted hard against the wall.
Of course the plant manager found out about it and gave Bill a three day suspension without pay And warned Bill if it ever happened again he would lose his job.
The first day when Bill returned to work Bill came up to Ted and said, “I want to apologize for my actions but if you had not done what you did, I would not have pushed you against the wall.”
That, my friend, is not an apology. If you had not done what you did then I would not have done what I did is not repentance. I want you to think for a moment to yourself. Have you ever met that person?
Now I am going to ask you to do something a little more difficult. As yourself the question: “Have I ever been that person?”
Revelations 2:5 says, “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Jesus gave a very strong warning. Your light could go out. In fact if you don’t repent and turn from your ways, Jesus himself would come and extinguish your light if you are not fulfilling His purpose. That’s what happened in the life of Saul. Saul refused to see the err of his ways. He refused to return to the plan that God had for his life as King of Israel. And God removed the crown from Saul’s head and gave it to David.
“The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said[b] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.” 1 Samuel 24:4
Nowhere in the bible does God tell David to deal with Saul as you wish. Here comes and opportunity for David to get what God has promised him. Here is the opportunity for David to get Saul. Saul had gone into the cave to relieve himself. Saul was a setting duck. (Just so you get the picture.)
David does something strange. David doesn’t kill Saul. In the face of this unexpected opportunity because you don’t know what is in your heart until you have an opportunity. You can theorize a lot about what you would do if. Now is the moment when David has to prove do I really believe the promise of God and trust God. Or am I going to take this into my own hands and do it may way.
He sneaks up. He has a sword with him (perhaps the very sword he had cut off goliaths head with we really don’t know for sure. He took it from the temple of Nod he took it from the priest and he killed some philistines with it.)
He cuts off a piece of Saul’s robe. He doesn’t kill him but he cuts a corner of Saul’s robe. After David took matters into his own hands, the bible says David was conscience striken. 1 Samuel 24:5
Why would David feel bad about killing someone who was trying to kill him? Why would you ever feel bad about getting even with someone who had done you wrong? What was happening inside the cave can only be understood by remembering what was outside the cave. Verse three describes the exact physical location of the cave. 3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.
The cave was situated right along the way to the sheep pens. That is where David came from. Inside the cave is Saul with a robe that represents what David is called to be the future King of Israel. David is in between where he came from and where God has called him to be.
How many of you realize today: That we are just like David. You are in between where you have come from. And where God is calling you to be!!! Where you are called to be is far more important than where you came from. You believe God can raise you up. Call your name. Call you out. Clean you up. Turn you around. And use you for his Glory. What you are called to…, matters more than what you came from.
Saul is on the inside representing that David will be King the sheep pin is on the outside representing where David came from And David realized something. That is not the kind of King I am going to become.
The title of today’s sermon is: How to Deal with People Who Don’t Like You
Learn this lesson: You don’t stoop to their level.
The temptation is that if you can hurt them and take something away from them then you will feel so much better. But the reality is when you get even with someone…, by the same means as they have hurt you. You don’t feel better you will still be bitter. That is why there are so many miserable people walking around in the world today. They thought that if they could take something from someone who hurt them. If they could deprive someone of something…, who took something from them they would get even. Oh, you got even all right you just squatted down and lowered yourself to their same level. You are no better than they are. There is no lasting satisfaction in that kind of getting even with someone one.
So David had a moment that says he was conscience stricken. He remember who he was. He remembered whose he was. This is not the right way to do it.
David’s friend hiding in the cave are saying do it, do it. Go ahead and get even. Now is chance. 6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” 7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him. 9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the LORD placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the LORD’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me. 12 “May the LORD judge between us. Perhaps the LORD will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you.
How to Deal with People Who Don’t Like You. Don’t take things into your own hands.
I will not compromise my principles and my morals to get even with someone. I will not stoop to their level. I will not step on them to make them look bad. I will not walk on their backs to try to make myself look better. I will not become what they are in order to get even.
David said, I am better than this. David said he was a child of the God. David said I am a child of God. You might be right. But it is not about whether you are right or wrong it is about how you go about making the point you are right that makes the difference. Sometimes getting what you want is not the problem it is the way you go about getting it is the problem.
Look up here: Dads, moms have you ever tried to correct your kids: But they way you are correcting them is through the exact behavior you are trying to correct. Stop yelling at your brother or sister. If you don’t stop hitting your sister I am going to beat the living day light out of you. If you don’t stop fussing at me I am going to break every dish in this house. I am screaming at my kids telling them to get their emotions under control. Does anyone see a problem with that? The very bad behavior I am trying to correct is now the behavior I am teaching.
Learn this lesson: Getting what you want. Getting your way is never as important as how you get there. Guess I showed them. NOT…, you just showed yourself. Your real character just came through. You can’t respond to people you don’t like with I don’t like you either and expect to change them. Don’t treat those who don’t like you the way they have treated you. There is no honor in that.
There is a lot of hate in the world but we can’t fight hate with hate. There is a lot of ignorance in the world but we can’t fight ignorance with ignorance. There is a lot of violence in the world but we can’t fight violence with more violence. There is a higher road called love.
So Jesus said in Gospel of Luke. “Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets. But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:26-28
Have you ever been talking to a close friend or your spouse about someone else. You have been guilty of saying, “I just don’t like that person.” They ask you, “What is it about that person you don’t like.” And you say, “I don’t know but there is just something about them I don’t like.”
What I have discovered is the people I don’t like are most often the people I don’t really know. I have really never tried to have a relationship with them. I have never invited them into my house for supper. I have never spent the day fishing with them. I have never sat down and listen to them and learned about where they come from and what has made them who they are. I am guilty.
David Alan Grier is the host of NBC’s new game show call Snap Decision. The show puts three strangers and based on their looks the Studio contestants go head-to-head for a $10,000 grand prize as they are asked to make snap judgments about three strangers, recently interviewed on the street. However, looks can be deceiving, as people are often not who they may seem to be. It is hilarious it is outrageous because we make the same judgments every day. You are saying to yourself. I am a pretty good judge of character. When in reality you judge people on the surface not on the real person of who they are.
What was Jesus really trying to teach us in Matthew chapter 5:41 when Jesus says. “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” Is he really talking about carrying someone’s back pack. Or is he saying sometimes like it takes more than two miles to get to know who someone really is. When you walk 4 miles in someone else’s shoes maybe you will begin to understand more about who they really are. And the truth is most of don’t witness and share our faith when only talking to someone for about 15 minutes. How long does it take you to start talking to someone about your faith. How long does it take before you start to disciple someone you are talking to? 15, minutes --- 1 mile 30, minutes ---2 miles 45, minutes ---third mile. An hour.---fourth mile. It takes about an hour or more to walk 4 miles. It takes a good hour to begin to get to know a person. So how long does it take for you to make up your mind. Hey I like this person or hey I don’t like this person? Maybe we make too many snap decisions
And not enough “conscience striken.” 1 Samuel 24:5 decisions.
As believers, you, too, will have opportunities to choose what you want to do and what is right. Show kindness and mercy. Showing kindness and mercy is not dependent on what you have received from people. Showing kindness depends on your character. What you do or say to others does not define them…it defines you.
Davis says to Saul: There is old proverb 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ I wonder if you really believe and trust in God that he will take care of your enemies, those who talk about you and hate you and curse you and mistreat you. Or do you try to take care of your enemies yourself?
It is easy to compare your life and your sins to someone else’s life and their sin. But God did not call us to compare our life to someone else’s life. God calls us to compare our life to the life of Christ. That is where the bible impacts our lives today the most.
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks. ‘To live in a glass house' is used as a figure of speech’ You shouldn’t be criticizing others when you have similar faults and weaknesses of your own.
Closing: Is your heart contrite and repenting? Realizing your own weaknesses, faults and failures? Are you forgiving of others? What I have discovered is this. If I love my enemies God will love me. If I treat those who speak evil of me God will speak favor on me. If I bless those who curse me will speak blessings on me.If I pray for those who mistreat me God will answer my prayers.