2nd book of Samuel 15:13-14.30.16:5-13a.
An informant came to David with the report, “The children of Israel have transferred their loyalty to Absalom.”
At this, David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem: “Up! Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Leave quickly, lest he hurry and overtake us, then visit disaster upon us and put the city to the sword.”
As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. All those who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went.
As David was approaching Bahurim, a man named Shimei, the son of Gera of the same clan as Saul’s family, was coming out of the place, cursing as he came.
He threw stones at David and at all the king’s officers, even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard, were on David’s right and on his left.
Shimei was saying as he cursed: “Away, away, you murderous and wicked man!
The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul, in whose stead you became king, and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom. And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer.”
Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king: “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.”
But the king replied: “What business is it of mine or of yours, sons of Zeruiah, that he curses? Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?'”
Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants: “If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life, how much more might this Benjaminite do so! Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.”
David and his men continued on the road, while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.
Blessings on the battlefield
In today’s first reading, King David is publicly cursed out by an angry enemy, Shimei, but he handles it humbly. David could have had him executed for his attack against his authority, but David wonders, “What if the Lord’s trying to teach me something?” He recognizes the stinging truth in the angry man’s words.
Even though Shimei’s accusation against him was false — he had not murdered Saul’s family to take over the throne — David’s conscience reminds him that he was nonetheless guilty of murder. He had had an affair with the wife of one of his officers and then killed him so that he could have her.
David chooses to approach the problem with a non-defensive posture. He reasons that if the Lord could use Shimei’s evil tirade to keep him humble and repentant, then he would benefit from the curse.
How do we react when someone gets angry at us? (I’m not talking about verbal or physical abusiveness; that’s a different matter and it requires escape and justice.) Do we pause and ask the Lord whether there’s any truth to the accusations? Or do we defend ourselves to protect our image and retaliate with our own angry words?
David accepted the “affliction” of being ridiculed and bad-mouthed rather than inflict harm upon his enemy. In this, he foreshadowed the Messiah. Did you also notice another foreshadowing as he wept over Israel on the Mount of Olives?
When people accuse us or curse us, we too can reflect Jesus. And, rather than feel hurt by their attacks against us, we can find ways to benefit. What are we learning from the experience? How are we growing stronger in our faith? How’s it helping our humility?
A healthy spirituality includes a balance between being open to learning from accusations and being closed to complete degradation. God sees what is good in us, not just what we do wrong, and we are holy when we recognize what is good while learning what to improve.
Culled from Good news reflections.