Summary: How to deal with our enemies and please God.
Days of David:
How To Love Your Enemy
Englewood Baptist Church
Sunday evening, April 13, 2008
This week, I was fixing breakfast for my son Max. He was having a little Pop-Tart thing and he really wanted to help me cook it. So picked him up and I sat him on the counter and he pushed the button on the toaster. And I started to gather the trash on the counter and throw it away, and as soon as I took my eyes off of him, he reached out his hand, and put it right on top of that toaster oven and received the first burn of his life.
I have never seen his hand move so fast as when he realized how hot that toaster was and he cried for 30 minutes explaining to me that he his hand was “hurted.” I beat myself up over that. I should have been paying attention. I could have prevented his pain and now he has to wear that spiderman band-aid for two days while the blister heals. I felt terrible, but as I thought about it more, the reality set in. With three boys and little girl, we’re going to use a lot of bandaids. I won’t be able to keep these 4 children from pain. It’s part of life. Bumps, bruises, and even little burns are going to happen.
In your life, the same thing is true. On this planet, you are going to face some pain. Some of that pain will be physical as you bump your shin on a pipe or smash your thumb in a drawer. Some of your pain will be physical, but there is another category of pain that you need to be prepared for as well. This is the pain of relationships. People are going to hurt you. It might be with sarcasm, it might be through silent treatment, it might be through slander, but along the way, someone is going to hurl darts at you. And you will have to decide how you are going to respond.
Jesus told us in the sermon on the mount that we are not to follow our instincts when people hurt us. We should take a radical approach to conflict resolution. Look at what he says, as written in the message translation:
You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You are kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)
Now that is a tall order! How do you live graciously toward someone who is nasty to you? Tonight, I want you to see how David accomplished this insurmountable feat.
As you recall from last week, David is now a national figure in Israel. When he killed Goliath, every person in the land put him on a pedestal. The women were singing songs about him, and King Saul was insanely jealous. If we had time tonight, we would read the next five chapters of 1 Samuel and we would see how this envy ate Saul up to the point that he wanted David’s head on a platter. He was determined to wound David, even kill him.
I want to show you two quick scenes to help you see what I’m talking about. Look first at chapter 18. The women have just sung this song exalting David and look at v.10-11.
By that one incident, it is clear that Saul is out to hurt David. There is no question, but in case you are led to wonder if Saul had a momentary fit of rage—that he just lost his temper. Let me take you to chapter 19:8-10.
Well, it’s about time that David ran. I don’t know about you, but if a man tried to put a spear through me, I wouldn’t show up again to play the harp. When it happened again, David knew that he was on the hit list. I don’t think there was any question in David’s mind. Saul was out to hurt him. He was going to continue to hurl his spears for no earthly reason. And there is a lesson to be learned even here. If you are walking in God’s will, you are going to face some enemies. A person is going to come along and hurl spears at you. They probably won’t be wooden spears, they will be verbal spears. You can count on it.