Turning the Tables

Sometimes the things that make us the angriest at others are the very things we often do ourselves.

We look at someone else’s sin and we wonder how they could be such a terrible person while ignoring our own equally despicable attitudes and behaviors.

2 Samuel 12:1-9 tells the story of how it happened to King David.

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

 5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. (2 Samuel 12:1-9, NIV)

The next time someone does something that just burns you up inside stop and take a minute to consider how you could be guilty of the same thing in a different context. Then if you decide to address the incident with them, think about how you would want someone to address it with you if the tables were turned.

By following Jesus’ teaching to take the log out of your own eye before trying to take the speck out of your neighbor’s, you may learn to speak in a manner that your neighbor can hear. More importantly, however, you’ll learn to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Prayer: God, teach me to speak the truth in love by speaking your loving Word into my life.