Summary: Shimei suffered from a spiritual illness that can plague even the most godly man or woman. He suffered from a "critical spirit." What can we do make sure we don’t fall prey to the same sickness in our lives?
OPEN: An older couple were on a trip across country and they stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. As they got up to leave, the woman forgot and left her glasses on the table. They were several miles down the road before she realized she didn’t have them and to make matters worse, her husband had to travel quite a distance down the road before they could find a place to turn around.
The old man fussed and complained all the way back to the restaurant. He berated for her foolishness and stupidity. How could she be so thoughtless!
When they finally arrived, as the old woman got out of the car to retrieve her glasses the old man said, "Well, as long as you’re going back in there, you may as well get my hat, too."
Now, I have a little quiz for you this morning:
Tell me what personality trait comes into your mind when you hear the following biblical names:
· Thomas (Doubt),
· Jezebel (adultery),
· Judas (betrayal),
Shimei? Yes Shimei. When you leave this worship service this morning I want you to remember his name. And I want you to remember 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 a disease I call the DEAD DOG SYNDROME.
But, before I read our text this morning I want give you a little background
Several years before our story this morning, King Saul was the ruler of Israel. But he’d grown disobedient to God and God anointed David to eventually replace him.
The only problem was that Saul hadn’t died yet… and he hadn’t abdicated his throne. And he had NO INTENTION of giving up his throne to anybody just yet.
So once Saul realized that David was God’s next choice for the throne, he sought on several occasions to have David killed.
By contrast… David had several opportunities to kill Saul – but refused to do so. He repeatedly told his friends and relatives he would not lay a hand on the “Lord’s Anointed”. And he never did.
David remained a fugitive and an outcast from the land of his birth… until the day Saul took his own life on the field of battle.
Now, in time, David became king of all Israel, just as God had intended. But about 30 years into his reign, David’s own son Absalom attempted a coup and David was forced to flee Jerusalem.
Now that brings us to our text this morning: 2 Samuel 16:5-14 (read)
I. What would cause Shimei to behave like such a jerk?
Well… he had a disease. He suffered from Dead Dog syndrome.
What is this disease? The Dead Dog Syndrome is a critical spirit.
What are the symptoms of this disease?
People with a critical spirit…
· focus on the negative. They look for and dwell on the faults of others. And they’re very vocal in their unhappiness with how others live.
ILLUS: I recently spoke with a man (we’ll call him John) from another congregation who was very upset with his preacher. The preacher had been preaching in his congregation for as long as John and his family had attended. John told another man and myself that he initially had liked the preacher, but over time that preacher had developed some habits that deeply annoyed him. And then John began to list all of that preacher’s faults. One story ran into another until it was obvious we were going to hear all of that preacher’s faults over the next half hour or so.
About half way into John’s litany, I interrupted him. I explained that Jesus commanded us NOT to criticize our brothers (even if they were preachers) but instead we were to lovingly encourage, pray for and periodically confront them about needed changes in their lives.
No sooner had I finished my teaching of John, then the other man in the group basically told him the same thing. Over the next hour or so, John came to understand that a negative, critical spirit was not something he was allowed to indulge in and he committed to changing his attitude.
Critical people not only focus on the negative…
· their language and behavior is geared to belittle those around them.
· But the person they’re upset with usually hasn’t even intended to cause them any harm
· They are so obvious in their negative spirit that others know them to be critical individuals or complainers.
Now - notice how Shimei conducts himself
· He’s extremely negative toward David
· He’s VERY vocal in his dislike of David - curses at David…throws dirt and stones at him. Critical people (particularly Christians) often don’t engage in cursing, but they may as well do so for all the anger they unleash in their conversation about the people they are frustrated with.