Summary: 6th in a 6 part series on surviving stress. This series uses the popular "Survivor" TV show as a "hook" and Psalm 23 as the Biblical foundation.
Surviving Hurts from Others
The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great betrayal and revenge stories of all time. Edmond Dantes= best friend betrays him and frames him for murder. Edmond is unjustly sent to prison while his best friend weds Edmond=s fiancé. While in prison Edmond meets an old priest who is said to know the location of a great treasure. This priest gives Edmond lessons on fencing, chivalry (Start fade in) and much more.
(ACount of Monte Cristo@ video clip. 51:00 - 54:19 - fade out.)
Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. That priest was quoting one of the scriptures we have for you. Or as the NLT, that we have printed for you says, AI will punish those who do wrong. I will repay them, says the Lord.@ But in the story Edmond does not heed the Priest=s pleas and he exacts his revenge. And we understand that don’t we? In fact, we like it. Revenge sells. It sells movies, it sells songs. BJ Thomas once sang, "Here’s another somebody done somebody wrong song." And being Adone wrong@ can happen suddenly and from a variety of sources. Your spouse takes advantage of you, a friend turns against you, an intimate companion that you trusted let=s you down; you=re verbally ambushed over something you never said.. a parent fails you, an employer reneges on a promised raise, a member of your church disappoints you and on and on it goes.. Relationships are the greatest source of blessing and joy but they can also be great stress producers. But the Bible would agree with the old priest. Getting even is never even. So this morning as we conclude our series from Psalm 23, we want to see what God says through David, about handling hurts from others. I want us to look at how we tend to handle mistreatment and then see God=s antidote for mistreatment, learning how we can do right even when we=re done wrong.
I. THE PAIN: BEING HURT BY OTHERS:
David, the author of our text certainly knew what it meant to be hurt by others. His life was full of relationships that failed, his mind was filled with memories of mistreatment. He had a wife who berated him for an act of humility, Ahithophel a close adviser double-crossed him, Joab his military captain deserted him. But knowing his life, it would be easy to think that when David wrote this verse he may have been thinking of the two most difficult times of mistreatment that he ever suffered: attack and abuse from King Saul and treason and betrayal from his own son Absalom. You might want to write down 1 Sam. 24 and 2 Sam. 15 where you can read about those times. David in both these situations did nothing to deserve the mistreatment. To King Saul he was a loving servant and best friend to his son Jonathan. But Saul saw David as a threat. In fact, one time when Saul was chasing David to kill him, David and his men hid in a cave. As luck would have it Saul decided to use that cave for a restroom. There David had every opportunity to kill him, but he didn=t because although wrong, Saul was still God=s anointed King and David wouldn=t even speak against God=s leader let alone lay a hand on him. Oh, if only his son Absalom would of had that kind of respect. What he did must have hurt David so deeply. Absalom decided that he, not David, deserved the throne. So everyday as David would make decisions & judgements Absalom would stand outside the palace saying things like: AI like my Dad, but the way he=s running the kingdom isn=t right.. This needs to be changed and this needs to be changed.@ Or he=d tell a disgruntled person.. AMy Dad lacks compassion, if I were King I would of given you what you wanted.@ Absalom ended up leading a revolt & broke David=s heart. So David understands what it means to be mistreated.
And so do you... Because the truth is, mistreatment is inevitable for all of us. Notice the words David uses in vs:5- Ain the presence of my enemies..@ He knew there would be those who would lash out at you, who for one reason or another would hurt you. Paul in the Romans passage we have printed makes it clear that everyone gets mistreated from time to time.. He says Ado not pay him back by doing wrong to him..@ and Ado not try to punish others when they wrong you..@(NCV) Paul assumes that evil will be done to us. And it is a sad but true fact of life.. If you have never suffered mistreatment from others you will.. And if you have, you will again. Now, you may be thinking, ADoes he think I don=t know this? I mean, come on.. AMistreatment is inevitable..= Well, >Duh=@ But one of the best ways to battle potential problems is to anticipate them. Simply understand that unjust mistreatment is part of this fallen nature. People let us down, people abuse us, people betray us. But then, in my most honest moments, I know that I=ve hurt others too. The important point here is not to dwell on Aif@ it=s going to happen but how should I react when it does?