As I look at the lament of David, it’s not surprising that he would weep for Jonathan. They were, after all, best friends. But that he would weep for Saul as he did is amazing to me. And the gracious words he had for Saul is almost beyond my comprehension.
23 “Saul and Jonathan—
in life they were loved and gracious,
and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.”
24 “O daughters of Israel,
weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.”
(II Samuel 1:23-24)
I suppose it is because of that kind of gracious attitude towards one that hated him, that God could call David a man after his own heart.
After all, Jesus himself said,
43 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.(Matthew 5:43-45)
For a lot of people those words are just that: words. Nice words. But a bit too idealistic. Not really practical in the real world. But to David, they were very real.
How in the world do we love those who hate us? I think the key is in seeing them as God sees them. To see beyond their attitudes, their character, their words, or their actions, and to see them instead as how God intended them to be. And as we do that, instead of viewing them in bitterness or anger, we start to view them with pity and compassion. We become sad that Satan has robbed them of the kind of life that God intended for them. And we start to see that these are broken people just as we were broken. That they’re the way they are because they have been broken by sin. And if we can view people in that way, we’re a step closer to seeing them as God does. That said, it’s easier said than done.
Lord, give me your eyes. There are people who have hurt me. People who hate me. Give me your compassion for them. Satan has robbed them of the joy and life that should be theirs, and as a result, they are the way they are. Send your mercy upon them and heal their brokenness just as you did with me. And if you can use me to touch their lives, please do so. In Jesus name, amen.