When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil.” – 1 Samuel 24:16-17 (NLT)
We might as well admit it. Most of us are not likely to pass up on a golden opportunity to silence our enemies. Especially the enemies who never miss their opportunities to attack us.
King Saul’s pursuit of David into the desert springs of ancient Judah (En-Gedi) marked the thirteenth attempt of King Saul to take David’s life. In a fit of paranoid rage, King Saul even attempted to kill his own son, Jonathan, when he wrongly suspected that Jonathan and David were colluding against him.
When King Saul entered a cave at En-Gedi to relieve himself, he had no idea that David and his men were hiding in the back of the very same cave. Instead of easily taking advantage of Saul’s vulnerability and slaying him, David snuck up behind Saul and cut off a piece from the hem of Saul’s robe. Outside the cave, David showed Saul the piece he’d cut as evidence of his unwillingness to take vengeance.
But not many of us would have blamed David if he had killed Saul in that cave.
We may give lip service to the virtues of humility and turning the other cheek, but we know we live in a dog-eat-dog world, where “getting over on others before they get over on you” is deemed necessary for survival.
Unless like David, we become more committed to God’s righteousness than our vengeance.
Unless like David, the nobility of our character keeps our desire to strike back in check.
Lord, help me to not confuse victory with vain self-vindication. Make me a better person than I am. Amen.