Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Grace of a Man

So we're talking about Hanun and the way that he disgraced himself before David, then doubled down and made himself really detestable to the Israelites. And we've already said that if all we had to learn from this story was what a lack of humility could do to us, that would be enough. 

But what if David has something to teach us here, too? 

This is where it gets messier, to say the least. Because we know that Hanun was familiar with David; David had been friends with the king's father. We know they had had plenty of opportunity to cross paths before this moment. And certainly, the king's father would have talked about David from time to time, particularly as he prepared his son to take over the kingdom one day. Hey, son, this David is a good guy. He's a great leader, full of power and goodness for his people, and he's been really good to me.

We know this has to be the case because when David first sends men to Hanun, he receives them happily. Everything's fine. It's only after some of his uninformed advisers get in his ear that he starts to wonder about the character of David, and it's that character that leads us into our next bit of food for thought:

Is it possible that Hanun did not humble himself before David because he didn't think David would forgive him?

We don't know what Hanun thought of David before or how much his men corrupted his opinion of Israel's king, but is it possible that all of a sudden, when Hanun thought about David, he didn't think of a man of God who would be willing to forgive him? 

If so, then that's a problem for David. 

Imagine being known as a man after God's own heart...by God...but being known by your former friend as someone who is unwilling to forgive a transgression?

That matters. It matters for David. It certainly matters for Hanun. And it matters for us. 

The world is watching. They are looking at the way that we live our lives. They want to know if we really believe that our God is the kind of God that we say that He is, if we've been able to let go of this world and hold onto His promises like we claim that we have. They want to know if things like love and forgiveness and mercy and grace are real, and they're looking to us to find out. 

So when we're known for being rude when we have to wait in lines, for leaving the smallest tips at restaurants (or worse, leaving tracts instead of tips) on Sundays after church, for dressing in our best and dragging our worst in on our shoes, that's a problem. When the world doesn't know how we're going to react to it, when it does not - or worse, cannot - expect grace, hope, love, forgiveness, mercy, and the like from us, that's a problem. When Christians stand out as the most intolerant persons in a world even as contentious as ours, that's a problem. 

But let's bring this down even closer to home - when you are those things, that's a problem. When your friends don't know if you'll forgive them, that's a problem. When your neighbors don't know if you love them, that's a problem. 

How can we ever expect a world to not have to double-down on its iniquity if it doesn't know, or doesn't believe, that we are a people ready and willing to meet it with grace? How can we expect one another to humble ourselves in community if we don't know how our community will receive us? 

How could we be any other than Hanun if we cannot trust who David is? 

No comments:

Post a Comment