II SAMUEL 16:5-8: “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. 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. And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! 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.” (ESV)
OBSERVATIONS: What am I holding on to? This is the question that came to my heart when I read this account of Shimei and David. Usually when I read this chapter I am drawn to the gracious response of David and his utter confidence in the will of God. But what about this scoundrel Shimei? Is there anything I can learn from him?
I think we are all a little like Shimei. We may not go to the extremes that he did, but we all battle with holding on to hurts and disappointments from the past. As a pastor you invest your life in people. In doing so you establish a love and concern that you soon learn is more one sided than you imagined. Sometimes the people that you love suddenly leave the church and it is not always with love and a blessing. This hurts. It is not so much that they have left, it is that you realize that the love and concern you held in your heart toward them was not the same in their hearts. When this happens numerous times, and it does in the life of any pastor, you can tend to hold on to the hurts and disappointments in your heart. Most of the time you are not even aware of it until possibly you hear their name or encounter them in a restaurant or supermarket. Yes, pastors are real people too, with real feelings, and real hurts!
So what do we do with these hurts and disappointments? Do we just bury them until the opportune time when we can hurl stones and insults at their memory? This is what Shimei did. He was of the household of Saul and never got over the fact that Saul’s lineage was replaced by David’s. Shimei held this resentment and hurt deep within his heart, until he heard the news of Absalom and encountered David fleeing with his men. At this moment, all the hurt, all the rage, all the disappointment was vented in a rock throwing, dust hurling, insult blazing rant of curses against David. And here it comes again – that whisper – “What am I holding on to?”
I don’t want to hold on to these types of feelings. The only reason they even happen is because of love in the first place. If you did not care, it would not hurt. Yet, isn’t it peculiar that the same love can turn to a festering pool of bitterness if we do not allow the Lord to heal our hearts? One Sunday morning we were in worship. We were singing a song and – “pop” – the name of someone that left a “hurt hole” in my heart came to my mind. Not during worship! Bury it, bury it, bury it! Yet, it was the Holy Spirit digging it up and saying to my heart – “Deal with this my son.” What could I do? I first had to realize I had these buried feelings. Then I had to bring them before the Lord. Then I had to bless and pray for this person. This is the only way to be released from this cycle.
What would have happened if Shimei would have been able to bless David as God’s anointed when he took the throne? Think of the years of anger and bitterness he would have avoided. Oh, I do not want to carry within my heart any petty anger, hurt, or bitterness. I want to walk in the light of His love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy. I want to position myself in love and blessing to all people, including those who have hurt me in the past. I know that I have not only been hurt – I have hurt others also. It has never been my intent, but yet it has happened. Through a slip of the tongue, through a misunderstanding, I have been on the giving end also. If I desire grace and mercy toward my life – I must give grace and mercy to all others.
Lord, forgive me for the times that I have harbored and nurtured hurt, disappointment, and un-forgivenenss. Lord, forgive me for the times I have hurt others and caused the same feeling in their lives. Help me to always have a heart that is directed toward love, reconciliation, and restoration. Where there is hurt, bring healing. Where there is disappointment, bring hope. Where there is un-forgiveness, bring grace and mercy. Change and heal my heart Oh God! In Jesus Name!