And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:13
If you want an amazing case study in LOVE beating out bitterness and resentment check out 1 Samuel 9. These twelve verses tell a remarkable story of choosing love and kindness over hate and revenge.
King David was thinking about his friend Jonathan one day, and likely re-living some of the pain Jonathan’s father, King Saul, had caused him. Saul spent years trying to hunt David down, desperately wanting to kill him.
So, David asks one of his men if King Saul has any living relatives. They track down the last of his descendants, a grandson named Mephibosheth, who was actually disabled (lame in both legs.)
The king’s men find Mephibosheth and haul him in to the court at David’s request.
You know this guy had to be FREAKING OUT. He had, no doubt, heard the stories over the years. He knew what his grandfather had done to David. It was pretty obvious what David’s intentions were here, he’d use his power and absolute authority to finally exact his revenge, right?
Instead, David turns to the guy and says, “Everything that once belonged to Saul is now YOURS!” David invites him to move into the palace and offers him a seat at his table. David even assigned about 30-35 people to take care of him.
Verse 11 says, “And from that time on, Mephibosheth, ate regularly at David’s table, just like one of his own sons.”
David could’ve easily chosen a different course of action. From a human standpoint, he had every reason to take out his hurts and anger on this man. Remarkably, he chose to show love, kindness and generosity instead.
Sounds like someone else I know…
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. ~ Romans 5:8
Restoration begins when we give up our right to be bitter and choose to stop punishing those who’ve hurt us and start loving them. (Even if they don’t respond in kind.)
It’s not always easier to love, but it’s always better.