When you're offended by someone you love, how do you do at extending forgiveness?
When trust is broken, when a son or daughter blows it, it's hard to set our feelings aside and say, you are forgiven. Yesterday, Chuck Swindoll admitted that, given a choice, most of us would rather sit on the judgment seat than the mercy seat. Chuck continues a message introduced on Monday's program. He's teaching from 2 Samuel chapter 16.
Chuck titled his message, Being Big Enough to Forgive. 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 Shemiai, 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 Shemiai said, when he cursed, get out, get out!
Get out, you man of bloodshed, you worthless fellow! See verse 9. 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. David has a choice.
He can become offended or not. The king said, What have I to do with you, O son of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the Lord has told him, I 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. Some of you need to do that with 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. I did it with you. When they were men or women enough to say, I did wrong. The most gracious and mature response is, Perhaps the Lord will look on the affliction and return good to me instead of cursing.
Okay, now keep that in the corner of your mind because we're going to look at the other side of the case. It's about verse 16. On the other side, now Absalom has been brutally murdered against David's wish, but Absalom is removed from the throne and all of a sudden people are turning back to David and they're moving his household goods back over the Jordan to get him back on the throne. It's a day of coronation. It's a day of delight. He's come from the low level up to the highest mountaintop and it's a great experience of rejoicing as David is about to be enthroned again as the king.
And of all things, up comes the reptile. Verse 16. Shimei, the son of Gerah, the Benjamite, who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, with Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, and his 15 sons and his 20 servants with him. They rushed to the Jordan before the king and they kept crossing the ford to bring over the king's household.
In a hurry to get him back on the throne. It's a great day to do what was good in his sight. And Shimei, the son of Gerah, fell down before the king as he was about to cross the Jordan. He said to the king, let not my lord consider me guilty. Now remember what your servant did wrong on the day when my lord the king came out from Jerusalem so that the king should take it to heart. For your servant knows that I have sinned. He used words in the English language to say to the one you've offended, but he said it because I have sinned.
Therefore I have come today, the first of all the house of Joseph, to go down to meet my lord the king. I am wrong. Before I go any further, and I know you're anxious to see how that response came out, let me add that you might be in the shoes of Shimei.
This is the kind of caricature that lived in the Old Testament, but there are Shimei's here. We've all played that role. You've done what is wrong. You know you've done what is wrong. You have said, you have done, you have whatever. And you know an individual has been hung up on that. And you're not free and he or she is not free. And the ball's in your court. It's your serve. It's your move.
Do it. That's why you made up the list. Now, don't make a false list. Don't feel you'll be more spiritual if your list is longer.
Just honestly, in an authentic manner, just unveil in an honest manner your life before your own mind in the lord's eyes and come up with individuals that you've got to come to terms with. It's tough, isn't it? We do this with our children on occasion.
It's hard. And because it's very, very personal between us, I don't want to use it as an illustration and exploit it. But rather recently, I came to terms with one of our children and I got some time with that particular one and we really had a talk. And I made it very clear that I was just, if not 100%, almost 100% in the wrong while the child was in the right.
And I took advantage of the child. And all alone, quietly, we, through tears and almost an hour's time, got it all worked through. Well, it's beautiful. It's hard.
It's gutsy stuff. And so unlike the way I was raised. I wasn't raised to do that.
I was raised, you know, just like you were. You can't do it. Why? Because I said so. Which has to be the super dumb answer in all the universe, you know. Because I said so isn't an answer. It's an excuse.
It's a cop-out. And parents don't apologize to children. Says it where?
Show it to me. If a child is offended by an angry or offending father, he needs to have forgiveness by the one that offended him. I don't care if the child is 3 or 33. That's how you build bridges.
That's how you put families back together. You cannot believe the number of individuals we minister to that just can't seem to bring themselves to that simple term. That a child is also a person. Here's David. Boy, you know, David could have been indifferent. Hey, that's a safe response.
Oh, shimmy eye. Ignore him, Abishai. George Bernard Shaw writes, the worst sin toward your fellow creature is not to hate him but to be indifferent toward him. That's the essence of inhumanity. I'll just cruel it. Let him die. See, that's not forgiveness.
That's rage controlled. Well, now, here's David. Shimmy eyes spread all out on the ground saying, I'm wrong.
I did what? And verse 21. Oh, God bless him, Abishai. The son of Zeroy answered and said, Should not Shimmy eye be put to death for this because he cursed the Lord's anointed?
You always have that counselor. Here he is again, David. Finish him off. He kicked you when you were down. Kick him back. Kick him hard.
Look at 22. You won't believe it. David says, What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeroy?
Oh, man, same song, second verse, a little louder, a little worse, same guy. That you should this day be an adversary to me. That's not the way you handle it. Should any man be put to death in Israel today where I know that I'm, do you not know that I'm king over Israel today? The king said to Shimmy eye, You shall not die. And he swore to him. You know why he could handle it like that? It was never an offense. Oh, Shimmy eye.
Hey, how are you, reptile? You know how come he could forgive? First of all, his vertical focus never got out of got out of whack, never got out of sync. Just, God, you and I can handle this dorky thing he said the other day. Who cares? God, you take that offense.
You're good at offenses. He was secondly very much aware of his own failure. You know who make good forgivers? The forgiven. You know how you can spot an individual who's super proud is a hard time forgiving. Just focus back on when you needed forgiveness.
Just focus back. Wasn't it a cleansing feeling when that person said, hey, it's fine? Wasn't it horrible when they didn't declare it? Very much aware of his own failures. People in that camp have a tough time with tolerance. They also don't make good leaders.
Good leaders have a lot of tolerance, a lot of space for humanity. Okay, he swore to him. Now, let me share with you some suggestions, as if we haven't already, on how to put this into action. Got your list, don't you? Okay, number one, cultivate a thicker layer of skin.
Well, you say what to do, but you don't tell us how to do it. Hey, that's tough to do. I would ask God for it. That would be a new one to throw on the throne. Lord, new layer of skin, please. Lord, help me not to be so delicate.
Lord, take away this silly sensitivity, this delicate China doll mentality of mine, and give me a depth. Make me, like Christ, do that soon. You have a friend? Have your friend help you with that.
Have your friend, whom you respect, help you know how to develop that cushion, that buffer, that can take those jolts and just bounce right off. You ever seen that little... It reminds me as I was doing that.
You ever seen this little doll you get for your kids? It has a big weight in the bottom. You stand back and go, boom, and that thing goes... It comes back up again, and the kid hits him again and hits him again. He just keeps bouncing back up. You know why? It's got that sense of balance within it.
It just keeps bringing it back up. And the slightest little thump, most of us, we just... You think, we died. We check out a church. We sit in our room and, you know, can't even pray. Just so thin-skinned. You really need that. Second, try to understand where the offender is coming from.
That takes grace. Try to see beyond the offense and look inside the little boy, inside that man, lashing out. Try to see where the offender is coming from, that little girl inside that woman that's lashing back. Try to figure out, why would they be doing that?
How would they swing, swing at me? You know, sometimes it's because they've been saving stamps. Let me tell you what I mean by that. Something happens in the home, and you don't express your discontent, you just put a stamp in your book. And then three days later, something else happens, and instead of saying, hey, you know what, that really is embarrassing, you just put another stamp. And before long, three, four, five months, maybe a couple of years, you've got a whole book.
Then you redeem them. Like he says, honey, come on, let's go. Boom! It's all over the room. And he says, what in the world? And you can say to him, I just redeemed my book.
If you are a wise person, you will observe when books have been redeemed. There's a cook over at Coco's, not far from our joint here, where I had supper the other night. And the manager was in a foul mood on Thursday, and he was snapping at the cooks. And our house was a zoo that evening. One kid was going one direction, one another, and Cynthia was taking another one, you know, for all I knew.
She was planning to go off the cliff that night. So I thought, I'm going to go over to Coco's and eat a hamburger and then come on the board meeting. And so I was over at the joint, and I was eating, and all of a sudden, I noticed a little friction.
I watched this dynamic happening, and I thought, oh, watch this. And so the manager said something strong to the cook, and the cook was just doing his thing. Didn't even get bent out of shape.
I got more bent out of shape than the cook did, and I wasn't even involved in it. And the manager said something else to him. This cook was, you know, flipping his pancakes. And finally, he put a salad together, and he stuck it up there, and I think he left off the parsley or something, and the manager came into him, and the cook just leaned over and said, okay. And he got the parsley, and he stuck it on there, and I thought, what manner of man is he? You know?
David reincarnated or something back there. And then I made a note. The manager apologized. He said, hey, it's just not my day.
And he told him two or three things that had happened that had just ticked him off. And then the cook responded, no sweat, man. I understand.
I just had to keep telling myself that it couldn't be me. So I've just left you on the back burner, simmering. What a classic answer. You know what the manager said? You know what he did? He looked inside. He saw behind the offense, and he thought, hey, that manager's having a bad day. That's great. You'll save all kinds of offenses if you'll just look beyond the silly little stupid comments that are said, and you know, down deep inside, something's wrong. Redeeming a book, maybe? Maybe a bad day?
Maybe I'm just the closest one. You know, the guy gets yelled at at work, and he goes home and screams at his wife, and the wife gets angry and hits one of the kids, the kid walks out, boots the cat, and the cat's on a prowl all night trying to find somebody to bite. We make life so complicated, and it's not that complicated. Just deal with it as it comes. Honesty. Number three, recall times in your life when you have needed forgiveness, and apply the same emotion. Times in your life when you really needed to be forgiven.
I can't share this. Easter week was unreal. You guys were enjoying it and relaxing in the great truth of the resurrection. I was coming unglued. My family and I were at odds. I had traveled too much, I was gone too much, and it kind of all hit the fan one evening, and the next morning, oldest son was been out of shape, and daughter was at his throat, and he lashed out, and I lashed out, and so breakfast was kind of a disaster.
So that evening, he took off for work. Things weren't resolved. Cynthia and I were kind of at odds with each other, and I just thought, man, I'm canceling that other trip.
So I canceled it. I went home, and I made it right with my wife to start with. Then I dealt with a child and another, and I thought, Kurt's at work. We got to go out there.
So I piled them all in the car. He drove out to where he's working, and it's late in the evening, you know. He doesn't know anything's happening.
He's in there cleaning up this building. So we knock on the door, and he does come, and he opens the door, and he looks at all of us, and he said, I'm having such a hard night, and he collapsed in his mother's arms. They cried. Kids cried.
I cried. And we walked in. He was cleaning this Wycliffe building, and so we sat around this great Wycliffe conference table, all these great missionary pictures on the wall.
We're in there bleeding all over the table and patching up wounds, and good stuff happened in that room that night. We just got it all out in the open. We needed forgiveness.
Hardly a person in the family hadn't done something that was dumb or offensive. We just dealt with it. Fourth, verbalize your forgiveness. Say it.
Don't think it. Say it. Verbalize your forgiveness with such words as, hey, let's go on from here. Let's go on. Those words are marvelous therapy.
I forgive you. Hey, let's go on. Just don't stop. Start over. Let's begin from ground zero up. We learned through it.
Let's go on. Stuart Briscoe writes, some years ago, a fashionably dressed woman came to my study, very distressed. She had made a commitment to the Lord a few days earlier, but had asked to see me because something was troubling her. She poured out an unpleasant story concerning an affair she had been having with one of her husband's friends. Then she insisted that her husband should know and that I should tell him.
That was a new experience for me. After some discussion with the woman, I called the husband. When he arrived at my study, I told him what had happened. His response was a remarkable and beautiful thing to behold. Turning to his tearful and fearful wife, he said, I love you.
I forgive you. Let's make a new start. Many things had to be straightened out and much hurt had to be healed.
But his response of forgiveness, made possible by his own understanding of the forgiveness of God, became the basis of a new joy and a new marriage. It's hard preaching, hard hearing, isn't it? Got your list?
Go to it. Let's pray. We try it all, Lord, before we try the right thing. Silence, grudge, religious indifference, even plotting a way to maneuver and manipulate to get our offender in a vulnerable spot so we can kick him. This is a very real problem that every one of us wrestles with, Lord. Somebody who hears my words at this moment feels the sharp edges of what you have been saying.
I pray for you to give great grace to some families, to some working relationships in an office where there is the acid of resentment, to school kids, collegians as well, maybe faculty members, maybe pastors. Help us a lot, Lord. We get really shaky when we think about this kind of stuff. It's one thing to see a cook do it at a corner restaurant.
It's something altogether different. To stand in his shoes and do it. And so I ask you to help us to put feet to our hope and to do it right, to do it soon. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that I ask this.
Amen. A powerful message on extending God's grace to others. You're listening to Insight for Living. Our Bible teacher, Chuck Swindoll, titled this message, Being Big Enough to Forgive.
It's message number 21 in his 24-part series. And in just a few programs, Chuck will conclude this comprehensive biography on David. To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org.
Well, heartrending stories like the one you heard today remind us that the wisdom of the Bible is timeless, and it speaks to both sinners and those who forgive sinners. While there's still time, we encourage you to reach out and request a copy of Chuck's biography on David. There's a full chapter on the topic Chuck addressed today. His book is called David, a Man of Passion and Destiny. To purchase a copy, call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or visit insight.org slash store. These daily programs are made possible not through the purchase of resources, but the voluntary donations from grateful listeners like you. And during the summer months when many are away on vacation, we're especially grateful for your consistent support. When you give, you're the channel that God is using to touch lives. Listen to this encouraging note that just arrived from a woman who heard Chuck's teaching online.
She said, I'm a single mom. My 47-year-old son has been running with the world all his adult life. This message spoke to me with such encouragement. You know, it makes us so happy to know that Insight for Living has become a beacon of light for a single mom who feels burdened for her adult son. And when you give, you're playing a role in these ministry moments. To give a contribution today, call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go to insight.org. In March 2023, Insight for Living Ministries is hosting an unforgettable journey to Israel. Carefully plan to deepen your understanding of the Bible and draw you closer to God.
Here's Chuck Swindoll. For thousands of years, no place has been more meaningful to God's children than the land of Israel. The rugged landscape reminds us to find refuge in God alone. The fertile valleys invite us to follow our shepherd. Jerusalem's position at the very center of the world announces the good news of Christ to every nation. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 5th through the 16th, 2023. Every time I visited the Holy Land, I returned home with a refreshed heart for God and a renewed vision for the world.
Really, I mean it every time. And so I want you to have the same life-changing experience. To learn more, go to insight.org slash events or call this number 1-888-447-0444. Insight for Living Ministries' tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll describes a painful season in David's life and the beautiful psalm that followed. That's Wednesday 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.
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