Yesterday, we introduced Psalm 41, where David is in one breath repenting of his sinful behavior to the Lord and in the next, sighing over persecution by his enemies, many of whom are supposed to be friends. And the question we left with is: did his "foes" know? Did they know he repented?
The question is really this: does it change your opinion of a person, friend or foe, if you know they have humbled themselves before God and cried out in grief over their own sin? Does it change the way you interact with them if you know that they're trying?
Would David's friends have still been friends if they knew the real anguish with which he cried out to God?
This is important because we're talking here about a man like David - a very well-known figure in Israel. Everyone knew David's story, or at least, they thought they did. He was such a public figure that everyone had an opinion of him and, at the very least, they knew that God's hand was on him. (Or, they should have.)
What they didn't know was what David did in secret. What they didn't know is what happened when he fell on his knees. What they didn't know was how earnestly he was working to get things right. What they didn't know was how it grieved his own heart when he sinned. What they didn't know, apparently, was that when he knew he had done wrong, he ran to God and threw himself on mercy.
Would it have changed things if they knew?
We spend so much of our lives having an opinion on others. We spend so much of our time judging what we think must be true of someone based on what we see. But do we ever consider the things that we don't see?
Do we consider what a man does when he is alone on his knees, just him and God? Do we consider how his own heart is torn by his sin? Do we stop to think that this thing that we want to keep drilling him into the ground for might be something from which he has already repented? Something for which he has already turned to God?
None of us wants to be friends with a "sinner." It's a whole lot easier to be a foe. It's a whole lot easier to stand up in our self-righteousness and declare that this is not the kind of man that we want to be around, to drag his name through the mud in an effort to boost our own, and to say that he's just not who we thought he was and that we just can't associate ourselves with this kind of man.
But can you be friends with a repentant man? Do you want to be friends with a repentant man? Isn't he the kind of influence you both want and need in your life?
Would it change you in verse 5 if you knew what happened in verse 4?