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Being Big Enough to Forgive, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
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August 1, 2022 7:05 am

Being Big Enough to Forgive, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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August 1, 2022 7:05 am

David: A Man of Passion and Destiny

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When a relationship with someone you love breaks down, there are few sweeter words to hear than these. Hey, I'm truly sorry for the way I've hurt you. Followed by, will you forgive me? Maybe you've been waiting for such a conversation. Well, in these rare moments of humility, accepting an apology is extremely important.

Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll presents a message titled, Being Big Enough to Forgive. His assertion comes from a story that's recorded in 2 Samuel about a fractured relationship between a father and son. David has now left Jerusalem barefooted and weeping with hundreds of his faithful friends.

It's a sad sight. Over a four-year period, Absalom, his son, had managed to execute a strategy to win the hearts of the people and turn them against his father, David. Absalom has now taken over the throne, and along with hundreds of his companions, he's on his way to kill his father.

Try to imagine that. Now, as if that isn't enough, out of the blue comes this weird character named Shimei. I want to read his story from 2 Samuel chapters 16 and 19 from the message.

We'll use sections of those two chapters. This is from the message, 2 Samuel chapter 16, beginning with verse 5. When the king got to Bahurim, a man appeared who had connections with Saul's family.

His name was Shimei, son of Gerah. As he followed along, he shouted insults and threw rocks right and left at David and his company, servants and soldiers alike. To the accompaniment of curses, he shouted, Get lost, get lost, you butcher, you hellhound. God has paid you back for all your dirty work in the family of Saul and for stealing his kingdom. God has given the kingdom to your son Absalom.

Look at you now, ruined. And good riddance, you pathetic old man. Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said, This mangy dog can't insult my master the king this way.

Let me go over and cut off his head. But the king said, Why are you sons of Zeruiah always interfering and getting in the way? If he's cursing, it's because God told him, Curse David. So who dares raise questions? Besides, continued David to Abishai and the rest of his servants, my own son, my flesh and bone is right now trying to kill me.

Compared to that, this Benjaminite is small potatoes. Don't bother with him. Let him curse. He's preaching God's word to me.

And who knows? Maybe God will see the trouble I'm in today and exchange the curses for something good. David and his men went on down the road, while Shemiiah followed along on the ridge of the hill alongside, cursing, throwing stones down on them and kicking up dirt. Now this next encounter with Shemiiah occurs after Absalom had been murdered.

So we move ahead in time. He again shows up from nowhere while David's family and belongings are being transported back to Jerusalem. You might remember that what he had done to David earlier was punishable by death.

Pretty interesting, you'll find. So now we turn to chapter 19, beginning with verse 15. So the king returned. He arrived at the Jordan just as Judah reached Gilgal on their way to welcome the king and escort him across the Jordan. Even Shemiiah, son of Gerah, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, hurried down to join the men of Judah so he could welcome the king, a thousand Benjaminites with him.

And Ziba, Saul's steward, with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, waded across the Jordan to meet the king and brought his entourage across, doing whatever they could to make the king comfortable. Shemiiah, son of Gerah, bowed deeply in homage to the king as soon as he was across the Jordan and said, Don't think badly of me, my master. Overlook my irresponsible outburst on the day my master, the king, left Jerusalem.

Don't hold it against me. I know I sinned, but look at me now, the first of all the tribe of Joseph, to come down and welcome back my master, the king. Abishai, son of Zeruiah, interrupted, Enough of this.

Shouldn't we kill him outright? Why, he cursed God's anointed. But David said, What is it with you sons of Zeruiah?

Why do you insist on being so contentious? Nobody is going to be killed today. I am again king over Israel. Then the king turned to Shemiiah, You're not going to die. And the king gave him his word. You're listening to Insight for Living. To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insight.org slash studies.

And now the message from Chuck titled, Being Big Enough to Forgive. A hungry tramp was looking for a handout in a quaint old village some time ago. I read this past week and he came upon an interesting inn, a pub that had the name, unique name, the Inn of St. George and the Dragon. So he went in rather sheepishly and it was a rather nice place. And he wrapped on the kitchen door and a woman walked up who was the cook and she said to him, What do you want? He was tattered and obviously dirty from having lived in the streets. And he said, Please, ma'am, could you spare a bite for me to eat? And she responded, A bite to eat for a no good bum? No.

Go get a job like anybody else in this city and work for your food. He walked out and it was about halfway down the street and turned around and he looked back at the sign that was swinging out in front and it read St. George and the Dragon. And he went back and he knocked on the door again and he said, Well, ma'am, if St. George is not is in, may I speak to him this time? And I've discovered in my few years on Earth that sometime people have to ask the second time to get through the dragon inside of us, especially in the areas of their humanity. We don't like to forgive people.

You know, we have a lot easier time forgiving big sins than we do little little humanities that come out, right? We're pretty savage people. An Indian lived through the attack of a Bengal tiger and he told the story after it was over. After the first rush that sent me sprawling, the tiger lay, ears flat, tail swishing from side to side, eyes glaring, waiting my next move. I ran. He cut me off. I dashed for a tree. He struck me down. Each time I was torn more terribly. Yet the game lurched on and on to utter exhaustion and despair. I was bleeding. At last, beyond caring or hoping, I played dead. His hot breath seared my neck. His jaws clamped my arm as he dragged me into the brush and left me to cool. There is a tiger in all of us. There is a mean cat.

And the simple fact is we, when we have those masks off, get pretty brutal. Tonight I want you to make your list, not a phony list, but the real list that only you know of people you have not forgiven. Make it in your mind. You don't want somebody else to read your list. It may take you a while, but for God's sake, make the list. You see, my desire in going through the life of David is not just to give you geography and genealogy and a lot of high-powered historical scoop on his life and have you walk away with a notebook full of facts.

My desire is to have you see David in your own shoes and vicariously to begin to emulate some of his godly qualities, one of which is broad shoulders. Now most of us opt for one of three different responses instead of forgiveness, and I want you to take note of these three because some of you are engaged in them right now. No pity, no mercy, but you've gone through the motions of forgiveness. The first kind of common reaction instead of complete forgiveness is what I call conditional forgiveness. I will forgive you if, I will forgive you as soon as, I will forgive you whenever, then you finish the sentence. If you come back and make things right, I'll forgive you. If you own up to your part of it, then I'll forgive you. That's conditional forgiveness. That says I'm waiting, waiting like a tiger swishing his tail.

You make your move and I'll determine whether it's time to back away or bite. Conditional forgiveness. The second kind of forgiveness that's less than perfect is partial forgiveness, which says I forgive you, but, and then you finish it. For example, but don't expect me to forget, or I forgive you, just get out of my life, or I'll forgive you until that happens again. That is partial forgiveness. The one that is very common is the third, and that's delayed forgiveness. I'll forgive you. Just give me some time. Some day, some time, I'll follow through.

I'll forgive you. I just read this afternoon, someone wrote in a rather simple manner, most of us would rather sit on a judgment seat than a mercy seat. Isn't that the truth?

Coming up with your list? You think I'm kidding with you. I'm not. Part of the reason you don't find freedom in your life is you haven't dealt with your list of people you need to forgive. Absolutely, totally, not conditionally or partially or in a delayed fashion, but totally.

Let me show you the alternative. I've got a little stair step downward in my mind. It's sort of a downward plunge you take when you don't forgive. First of all, there is an offense, and then if there isn't forgiveness after the offense, there is resentment, and if there isn't forgiveness following that resentment, then there is hatred, and then hatred leads to grudge, and finally grudge settles in revenge.

I'm just waiting my time, and when I have my chance, I'll get them. It is amazing how much of this goes on in the family of Christians. Just amazing. Now I'm going to level with you and tell you that years ago, I couldn't have preached this message, because I hadn't come to terms with these truths since I have, thank God, since he's helped me with it. I can honestly say I do not know of an individual I have not forgiven. That is a tremendous relief. I say that in no sense of pride.

I say that just as an honest fact to encourage some of you to know that it can happen. I don't know of anyone that I have a grudge against that I feel resentment toward, but the same heart that beats inside of you beats inside of me. I tell you, I wrestle with this on a regular basis. Every week, I have to come to terms with not letting that offense take one step down to resentment. I have to deal with it at the offense level or I'm a goner. Sometimes those things just kind of roll off like water down a little slide and you're all the way to the bottom toward revenge before you even realize it. Now David, what a great guy.

What a real, believable person. Chapter 16 of David's life is a low ebb. Since he's taken the throne, he has never been lower.

Never. This could be compared to his time before he was on the throne when Saul was pursuing him and he was so depressed, so low, David is right in the pits, right in the bottom, and there's nowhere else to go. You know what's happened to him? Well, he sinned with Bathsheba and that set off a whole chain reaction. Nathan said, oh, your wives will be taken advantage of in public. That happened.

Your family will turn against you and that's happened. He lost his throne. His son came in revolt and through a conspiracy overthrew his dad and now Absalom is reigning as the king and David's on the run. He is at his lowest ebb and there's nowhere else to go to get any lower.

He's at the bottom. I think it's at this time that he wrote these words from this psalm and I'll just read it to you. I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay and set my feet on a rock.

He was in the pit and listen to this other statement. For evils beyond number have surrounded me. My iniquities have overtaken me so that I am not able to see they are more numerous than the hairs of my head. My heart has failed me. Never felt like that?

Maybe you do tonight. Now in the bottom, in the despairing moment with guilt sort of crushing in on top of him in the pit of destruction, verse 5 chapter 16 of 2 Samuel begins to speak and I've set up the context so you can feel the barb of this man Shimei. You'll never forget Shimei after this study.

Never. When King David came to Bahareem behold there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gerah. He came out cursing continually as he came and he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left and thus Shimei said when he cursed get out, get out you man of bloodshed, you worthless fellow. The Lord has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul in whose place you have reigned and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. Behold you are taken in your own evil for you are a man of bloodshed. The living Bible reads get out of here you murderer, you scoundrel.

He shouted back at David. The Lord is paying you back for murdering King Saul and his family. That was a lie. You stole his throne. That was another lie. And now the Lord has given it to your son. That's a third lie. The Lord never gave the son the throne.

The son took the throne. At last you will taste some of your own medicine you murderer. And you feel the tiger inside David. This is your basic reprobate who makes it his business of kicking you while you're down. Ever had that happen? Not a person in this place that hasn't had it happen. You're at the very ultimate lowest pit and along comes a Shemii.

Boom! Hits you below the belt. And sure enough, along comes someone else to give you the kind of counsel David heard. See verse 9? Abishai, keep that name in mind. Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, why should this dead dog curse my Lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head.

That's a rather direct counsel from Abishai. You'll always have somebody that'll say to you, hey, you have to take that. Let me handle him.

Well, I'm good at this. I mean, you got your rights. Stand up for yourself. Don't want to walk all over you.

Operation Doormat. That would cut off his head. Now, before I go any further, let me add that Shemii is a real first-class fink. Okay? He has come at David at a hard moment. He has lied three times in the attack. And he is way out of line. David is innocent, at least of these assaults. David has a choice. He can become offended or not. Verse 10.

What a guy. The king said, what have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he says that once in his lifetime, he says it a half dozen times. Sons of Zeruiah were all built with a short fuse. Every one of them was ready to fight at the first glimmer.

They carried a chip on their shoulder, always ready to fight. And he says, what have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses and if the Lord has told him, curse David, then who shall say, why have you done so? Verse 12.

Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day. I can't believe it. Now, maybe you can, but that is unbelievable. He's at the bottom level and along comes Shimei and boots him and David says, the Lord's in it.

How in the world can you do it? That's a good question. As a matter of fact, it's when you're able to do that that you'll know the joy of a clear conscience. He never got offended.

He never took it personally. Now, I'd say something here for the sake of a few of you that need to hear it. I would know to God that some of you would develop a much thicker layer of skin. Some of you are so, so sensitive, so delicate that the slightest little pinprick, you know, you tube out and you're in the hospital for three weeks recovering virtually.

Soft heart and thick skin, that's the answer. I mean really thick, really rhinoceros type, okay? Really thick so that you can get punched around and punched around. If you want to be used of God, get that kind of skin.

Whatever it takes. The people that get the job done nowadays are able to overlook all sorts of silly little comments people are going to make. You know, when you walk through thorns, you have to have on heavy boots. You don't walk through thorns barefooted. If you're going to deal with people, you got to be well shod. If you're involved in ministry or you plan to be in the distant future or near future, get that lesson learned. Get really an armor plate around you or you're doomed to failure. You will not make it. Now it's not that you have a thickness toward God, it's that you have a thickness toward these kind of reptiles that crawl out of the swamp and sort of come in at you like the shimmy eye. You'll meet a shimmy eye, it's only a matter of time.

You come in on your case and you'll have the question of whether I'm going to be offended or whether I'm going to let that go. Hey, hang on to this one. Dale Galloway writes in his book, You Can Win With Love, the story of John D. Rockefeller, a man who built the great Standard Oil empire. He was a man who demanded high performance from his company's executives. One day, one of the executives made a $2 million mistake.

I can't believe it. I don't even know how to write $2 million, much less make that kind of mistake. The news of the man's enormous error soon spread through all the executive staff. During this entire day, these men made themselves scarce and were afraid to even go near Rockefeller's office for fear of his reaction towards this mistake. But one brave executive decided he would go ahead and keep his appointment and go in to see Mr. Rockefeller. He tightened his belt, walked in the door as the oil monarch was writing on a piece of paper, looked up and abruptly said, I guess you've heard about the $2 million mistake our friend made.

Yes, he said, expecting Rockefeller to explode. Then he said, I've been listing all the good qualities of our friend here on a sheet of paper and I've discovered that in the past, he has made us many more times than the amount he lost for us today by his one mistake. His good points far outweigh this one human error that I think we ought to forgive him, don't you?

Oh, wouldn't you love to have a boss like that? It doesn't take a $2 million mistake. It takes just an off the cuff comment and we're sidelined.

Why? Because our focus is so horizontal. Our God is some distant deity that sits around the theological heavenlies answering doctrinal questions, not meeting practical needs. And so when something practical happens, we're goners rather than focusing right away on the vertical and saying, oh Lord, right now you take that offense. Give me a bigger mind than that.

Maybe he wants to live in that narrow world. I don't. Some of you need to do that with your parents. Some of you need to do that with your kids. You can dangle your kids. Your kids will blow it and then they'll finally come back and they'll say, you know, I blew it.

I had no business doing such and such. The most gracious and mature response is perhaps the Lord will look on the affliction and return good to me instead of cursing. As we listen to today's message from Chuck Swindoll, many of us might be thinking about relationships that need attention, and there's much more teaching ahead on this topic. Chuck titled his message, Being Big Enough to Forgive. To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. Insight for Living is known around the world for helping people engage in the practical truth of God's word. We model that on this daily program, but in addition, we provide a wide variety of resources to help you encounter the Bible on your own. For instance, every sermon Chuck presents on this program is complemented by online study notes. This allows you to jot down your own thoughts into your computer, or you can print out the document and share copies with your small group Bible study.

We call this free resource Searching the Scriptures, and you can begin right now by going to insight.org slash studies. Earlier this year, Insight for Living sent a delegation from our ministry team to the continent of Africa. During this journey, Insight for Living collaborated with African church leaders to teach them how to search the scriptures on their own.

It was another reminder that God's truth has no cultural boundaries. It's a good time for us to say thank you to all those who financially support Insight for Living Ministries. Because of the generosity of those who give, we're able to bring Chuck's teaching to your station every day. Plus a small fraction of your gift is all it takes to share Insight for Living beyond our borders as we minister in eight languages other than English. In fact, it's our long-term dream to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world.

We call this mission Vision 195. You can help us realize the dream of Vision 195 by giving a donation of any amount. If you prefer to give a gift today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to Insight.org. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again when Chuck Swindoll continues his heartfelt message called Being Big Enough to Forgive, Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Being Big Enough to Forgive, was copyrighted in 1978, 1988, 1997, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-18 06:18:18 / 2023-03-18 06:27:53 / 10

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