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Don’t let the Shimeis in your life get you down

King David was the great king of Israel. His son, Absolom, conspired to overthrow David and become king. Absolom shrewdly went about this betrayal and assembled an army without David’s knowledge. When David realized Absolom’s army was marching on Jerusalem, he and his loyal soldiers quickly fled the city.
As David fled, a man named Shimei followed after him cursing him. Shimei was a relative of King Saul and bitterly resented that David became king after Saul died rather than a member of Saul’s family. Filled with anger at David, Shimei threw stones and dirt at him, cursing all the while.
One of David’s soldiers said to David: “Why should this dog curse my lord and king? Let me go over and take off his head.” But David said; “What business is it of mine or yours that he curses?” “Let him alone and let him curse for the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will look upon my affliction and repay me with good for the curses he is uttering this day.”
As the Bible records: “David and his men continued on the road, while Shimei kept up with them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.” (The story is found in 2 Samuel 16:5-14)
This Bible story is a favorite of mine. David was betrayed by his own son. He was fleeing for his life. He knew that he might lose his kingdom. At this most painful and difficult moment in David’s life, along came Shimei, a man filled with anger and bitterness, who cast stones and threw dirt at him, cursing him constantly. We would understand if David had one of his soldiers put Shimei to death. Instead, David chose to ignore him.
David was no Pollyanna. He was not too weak to respond to Shimei, rather he was strong enough to ignore his bitterness. He realized the challenge which lay before him and he was on his way to raise an army to fight to keep his kingdom. If David had turned his attention to Shimei and angrily responded to Shimei’s actions, he would not have been looking at the road and on the journey he knew he had to make. He would not be focusing on the road ahead or on the task God was calling him to accomplish. David went forward and did not give in to the aggravation of an angry man.
There is a powerful message here for us. There are times when people come into our lives who are angry with us, they may curse us, throw stones at us, and try to cover us with dirt. Shimeis come into the lives of each one of us. When this happens, our reaction may be, like David’s soldier, to strike back at them. If we do, however, we turn our attention and our energy away from what God calls us to be about. Each one of us has our role in life, we are to love and care for our families and friends, fulfill our daily responsibilities, care for neighbor, grow closer to God.
These are the matters that rightly demand our attention and energy. If we dwell on hurts or insults, brood over injuries, thirst for revenge, or return anger for anger, we turn away from the road God calls us to travel. The stones thrown at us may be real and may hurt deeply, but they are not worth the time it takes to attend to them. This is not being Pollyanna. It simply means that we know God calls us to continue traveling on the road He has set before us and that the anger of other people is not worth the effort.
As Christians, however, our response must be more than not being distracted by the anger of others.
We must do so in a fashion that allows us to forgive their actions and to pray for forgiveness ourselves. We can ignore the anger of others and still keep anger in our hearts. Such as attitude is not worthy of a Christian. We must also forgive. As Christians we know that forgiveness of wrongs brings both God’s healing and strength into our hearts. Bitterness weakens us, forgiveness strengthens us.
In short, stay on the road, forgive, follow the journey God has set before you, and don’t let the Shimeis get you down.

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