THE DEAD DOG SYNDROME
2 SAMUEL 16:5-14
2 CORINTHIANS 8:16-21
[recrafted sermon from Jeff Strite Sermon Central.com contributor ID= 4028]
INTRODUCTION... A Little Quiz
I would like to begin this morning with a little quiz. I need you to participate with me and actually answer the questions. I need you to tell me what personality trait comes into your mind when you hear these names:
* Thomas (Doubt), * Jezebel (adultery), * Judas (betrayal), * Shimei (huh?)
Shimei? Yes Shimei - when you leave this worship service, I would like to remember his name and what trait should be identified with him. Shimei suffered from a spiritual illness that unfortunately strikes both Christian and non-Christian alike and can destroy the very spiritual fiber of the strongest man of faith...
Shimei suffered from DEAD DOG SYNDROME.
You might be wondering where we find this ‘Dead Dog Syndrome’ and what it is exactly. First, we need a little background. I want to summarize for you the end of 1 Samuel and also 2 Samuel chapters 1-15. David’s path to the throne of Israel was not an easy one. He struggled with King Saul and feared for his life on more than one occasion. David had opportunities to kill Saul, but did not because he was anointed by God to be the king. Saul later took his own life during battle and David became king. David conquered the Philistines and the people around him. Israel was a mighty nation under David. David had a son named Absalom, who started a rebellion against his father and wanted the throne for himself. His son Absalom wanted to fight his father, but David loved his son and did not wish to face him in battle.
READ 2 SAMUEL 16:5-14
What on earth would cause Shimei to behave like such a jerk? What caused him to run out after the king and say what he said and do what he did? He had ‘Dead Dog Syndrome.’ What is this disease? It is a critical spirit. What are the symptoms of the disease? The desire to Spit Out, Strike Out, and Tear Down.
I ask you two very simple questions this morning that will take much self-examination to answer. The questions are: Do you have a critical spirit? How do you defend against a critical spirit? To be honest, only you can answer the first question. You will know whether or not you have a critical spirit and suffer from ‘Dead Dog Syndrome.’
We see in though, in Scripture, how to answer the second question: How do we deal with critical people.
We need to take note of how King David handles this situation. He had so many reasons to be infected with this disease. He had been stripped of his security, rejected by his people, and was no longer the young man capable of handling life on the run he used to be. Not only that, his enemy was his beloved son. This was his darkest hour. Now, as he rides away from battle, to have some sordid, mean spirited, insignificant excuse for a man throwing dirt and rocks at him must have been the end all. I know how it is with me. You catch me in a day when everything is going wrong, I’m tired… a little grouchy… and then someone says just the wrong thing... I might be inclined to take his head off too. I understand Abishai. "Here Abishai, use my sword, but don’t kill him ...too quickly."
How did David protect and defend himself against this critical spirit? And how do we heal ourselves of this disease?
I. DAVID LOOKED AT THE CRITICISM AND HIMSELF HONESTLY (2 Samuel 16:11-12)
The first way of defending against criticism is to deal with it honestly. I suppose I am taking some liberties here, but I do wonder exactly what was going through the mind of David as Shimei was shouting at him. I think there might have been two thoughts running through David’s mind as he was pelted with rocks and criticism.
First, I think he was listening honestly to Shimei and seeing first if any of it was true. Verse 11 and 12 do not show that David disagreed with Shimei in any way. Many times those who criticize us do not have all the facts or are mistaken in some way, but there might be a small thread of truth in what they are saying. Maybe, as David said, they are being used by God in some way to help you or to fix a problem in your life.
* Sometimes criticism comes because someone is mean-spirited, perhaps like Shimei
* Sometimes criticism comes because someone cares and wishes the best for you
* God can use either of these to aid you in your life
Second, I think David looked inside honestly and remembered his own sin. I think also that David looked at Shimei and saw someone who sinned like he had sinned. The key to a humble, uncritical spirit is to remember that you’ve sinned too. Shimei tells David that he is a ‘man of blood.’ That really was true. David was a warrior. He had fought many battles and fought many fights. He had even had a man killed so he could have his wife. David was guilty of sin, just as all the men around him were guilty. David remembered the death of Uriah the Hittite and the adultery with Bathsheeba. He had sinned and shed innocent blood.
Jesus told a parable about this in the Gospels. He told of a Pharisee and a Tax Collector who happened to be worshiping in the Temple (Luke 18). The Pharisee could only see the sinfulness of the man beside him. The Tax Collector could not see his own sin. Who had the critical spirit? The Pharisee. Then there was the incident of the woman who was brought before Jesus in the Gospel of John (chapter 8). The crowd was self righteous and critical (not to mention hypocritical) and sought the death of the woman. How did Jesus diffuse their critical spirit? He wrote something in the dirt and then said "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
I think David looked at Shimei and knew that he himself had sinned and that perhaps he was not all wrong in his criticism. 1 John 1:8-9 in God’s Word says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I think David remembered that he had sinned and chose to forgive Shimei instead of allowing his general to carry out the penalty.
II. DAVID REMEMBERED GOD’S PROMISES AND FAITHFULNESS
The second way of defending against criticism is to focus upon God. Many times the difficult times in our lives can be used by God to teach us and help us... but only if we have eyes of faith and keep our mind on the things above. What do I mean? David remembered God’s faithfulness in his life and all the promises God had made to him. How do we know that? David wrote Psalm 3 during this time in his life.
READ PSALM 3:1-8
It is in remembering God’s faithfulness that we inoculate ourselves against the self righteousness that accompanies the critical spirit. When we keep our mind on God, we will think and act as God would have us to. What did David focus on when faced with Shimei who was condemning him and harshly criticizing him?
* David remembered that God would protect him (verse 3)
* David remembered that God hears his prayers (verse 4)
* David remembered that God gives him the strength to endure (verse 5)
* David remembered that God would deliver him (verse 7)
When we focus upon God and keep Him in mind, our reactions and conversations with those who are critical and judgmental will be seasoned with salt and faith rather than anger and poor reactions. I hope that you realize that in all difficult situations and when dealing with especially difficult people, we should always lean on God for wisdom and guidance. That is what David did in remembering God’s promises and faithfulness.
III. PREPARE BEFORE HAND (Leviticus 19:17) (2 Corinthians 8:16-21)
The third way of defending against criticism is to prepare for it before hand. You can prepare to be the critical one and you can prepare to be criticized.
When preparing to be critical, we should think of Leviticus 19:17. The warning of Leviticus 19:17, “...thou shalt surely rebuke thy neighbor, and not allow sin upon him,” is preceded by warnings against spreading slander and nursing inner hatred. You can easily determine, therefore, when you should criticize and when you shouldn’t by asking yourself these three questions:
(1) Am I motivated by an earnest desire for the welfare of the person I think needs correcting?
(2) Am I going to face him honestly, but gently?
(3) Do I find the task thoroughly disagreeable, or am I secretly getting some pleasure out of it?
When preparing against being criticized, we should think on 2 Corinthians 8:16-21. 2 Corinthians 8 records the Apostle Paul’s thoughts about a certain offering for the church in Jerusalem.
READ 2 CORINTHIANS 8:16-21
Paul was preparing himself and his companions before any criticism arrived. They were doing a good work in collecting for the church in Jerusalem and they had done well. They had large amounts of money. Paul says in verses 20-21 that his group wants to avoid criticism by conducting themselves with integrity before God and man. That should be our preparation as well. When we conduct ourselves with integrity before God and man, we need have no fear when someone with Dead Dog Syndrome appears in our lives barked up our tree.
We all will face the situation of being criticized. How we handle it is so very important. Scripture shows us to look at the criticism honestly and see what God might teach us. Scripture tells us to focus upon God and rely on Him. Scripture teaches us to prepare.
I wanted to share with you the conclusion of the story of David and Shimei. We see the conclusion in 2 Samuel 19:15-20.
READ 2 SAMUEL 19:15-20