Are you someone who feels strongly about crimes against innocent people? How do you feel when a perpetrator gets away with it? Is there a place for mercy in the context of justice? I hope that this Plan will give you a new understanding of showing godly mercy in the fallen world around us.
DAY 1: BRAVE ENOUGH FOR MERCY
I love watching a good courtroom drama that ends with justice. The best part of the story is usually when the innocent victim finally finds the courage to stand up against the perpetrator. His or her bravery causes goosebumps in the silent courtroom. The villain will get his punishment at last.
Like the time when king Saul surprised David and his men in a cave in En-gedi (1 Samuel 24).
By this time, David had been the victim of Saul’s madness for a long time. He married Saul’s daughter after a failed trap to have him killed in battle (1 Samuel 18). He humiliated himself by pretending to be insane in front of King Achish to stay safe from Saul (1 Samuel 21). And his parents even had to move to Moab to escape Saul’s crazy fury (1 Samuel 22). Thank God for finally coming to the rescue!
If I were part of the story, I would definitely have been the friend urging David on to have his day of justice. “‘Now’s your opportunity!’ David’s men whispered to him. ‘Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’ (1 Samuel 24:4, NLT). But David took bravery a step further than facing his adversary. Even though he got close enough to cut a piece of Saul’s robe, he did not act on his feelings of hurt and betrayal.
David found the courage to override his human instincts. He made a conscious decision to trust and obey God instead of going after his own desires for victory and justice against Saul. It did not come naturally, it took restraint on David’s part (1 Samuel 24:7). “For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one” (v. 10, NLT).
You see, the courage to show mercy is not born from merely obeying a law against murder. David’s brave act of mercy was rooted in an intimate relationship with God. David trusted God’s goodness over the evil living in Saul’s heart. Even Saul himself could see it despite his madness. “And he said to David, ‘You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil’” (1 Samuel 24:17, NLT). David also trusted God’s justice over sin. “‘May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!’” (v. 15).
What is keeping you from showing mercy to people who have wronged you? Are you perhaps not feeling so sure that God will cause justice to prevail?
Let us be brave enough to show mercy. Let us trust God to keep his promises of justice. “Never pay back evil with more evil.. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19, NLT). “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good” (v. 21).
1 Samuel 24:1-22