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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Criticism at Its Best

2 Samuel 16:5-13 (ESV)
5  When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. 6  And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. 7  And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! 8  The LORD has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.” 

9  Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10  But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11  And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. 12  It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.” 13  So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust.  

I hate criticism. I am not humble about it either for I respond vehemently when I am criticized. I wonder if I could be as gracious as David was if I had received this reception when everything seemed to be going against me.

Shimei was a distant relative of Saul. His fortune would have, no doubt, been better if Saul's family had retained the kingdom. Shimei either didn't know the real details of David's ascension to the throne or he chooses to ignore them.

He accuses David of wrongdoing in becoming king. He calls David a man of blood as if David had something to do with Saul's death. Maybe Shimei didn't want to admit the truth. Saul had been badly injured in battle and chose to commit suicide rather than let the enemy capture him. 

I have found that the facts make little difference when people want to criticize you. Rumors and outright lies will suffice. Circumstances are easily ignored.

Shimei calls David a worthless person. This is a condemnation. Calling someone worthless is an eternal judgement. It means that the person can't change. Saying that you did worthless things or that you acted in a worthless manner is not a statement about the individual. It is merely a judgement of the actions rather than the person.

Condemnation hurts. It takes on the depth of eternity. The one condemned is fated to remain condemned. Condemnation is intent on hurting. 

Shimei says that David is getting what he deserved. This usually comes from someone who doesn't think he has gotten what he deserved. The one who criticizes thinks he was entitled to something better than he has received. He is grateful when others get what they have coming to them. 

Too often, the ones who castigate others do so at a safe distance. Shimei walks along the ridge of a hill. He stays close enough to yell condemnations,  throw rocks and kick up dust but far enough away that David's attendants will have to chase him before cutting off his head. I personally have seen many people hide behind others to hurl their gossip and libel. They stay far enough away to protect themselves and stir up others enough to do the dirty work. They loves staying in the shadows.

David looks at this providentially. He sees that his life can't get much worse. His own son seeks his life. This, in comparison, is a minor inconvenience. David knows that he hasn't caused the wrong that is being done to him. He believes that God has instigated this cursing. He believes God will therefore take the bad that is done and will bring it about for good. This sounds a lot like Romans 8:28.

So, David sees God leading Shimei to curse David. Ultimately, everything either comes from God's commission or His permission. He is either causing or allowing things to happen. Thus, it must all figure into God's great plan. Maybe I don't deserve the criticism I receive. Yet, God will make the thing that can hurt me deeply into something that will bless me.

Still, I don't think I will like criticism when I receive it. 

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

What do you do with a person whom even the pastors will keep a distance from, or worst still would even tell another pastor NOT to pray for the person, and is a person who cannot hold down a job for more than a few weeks, who keeps murmuring about every colleague of every firm she goes to, right from the cleaner lady to the director of the company, but never consider herself to be of any shortcoming, who is always in need of prayer, and who insists you have to give her attention over others, even when others were earlier in line? Worst still who would, if you try to suggest any hint that she needed to change in anyway, bark at you, hurl insult at you, like calling you a hypocrite, or accusing you of being proud, and afterwards still come back and ask you to pray for her.

Oh, I too, feel I cannot tolerate it, yet I also feel it that the Lord could be including her amongst those whom the Lord bundles as "People whom the others don't want, but would you want them, for they are still my children and I still want them".

At time, I just felt I have to say it, even if the person does NOT like it, and then sure enough, I get hit, and I don't like it at all. But if I don't say, it is not going anywhere, and the person is just not helped either. Oh, I feel like giving up "hand-holding" such.

Oh, Lord, you got to give me the grace to continue to give a line to such. Lord, you know I know others would say, "Just drop her", and I can do that, and I am inclined to do that, too, right at this moment, but I work for you, Lord; whatever you say, Lord.

Oh, I too, now is murmuring. Lord, you help me to press on, ok?!

Anthony Chia, high.expressions