40. Do not harbor hatred and revenge

Last week we saw how David's son, Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. She begged him to marry her now, as it was a disgrace not to be a virgin anymore, but his love for her turned into hatred and he chased her away. David was angry, but made a terrible mistake in not disciplining his son for doing this. This opened the door for revenge and a lot of innocent people were hurt in the process, even David himself as we will see later on.

Absalom, Tamar's real brother and David's other son, hated Amnon for doing this to his sister. He allowed the hatred to fester until the time was ripe. Two years later Absalom had a party at his house. He invited King David and all his brothers. King David declined, but he sent all his sons, including Amnon. When they arrived, Absalom ordered his servants to kill Amnon when he was merry with wine, which they did. All the sons had such a fright that they immediately climbed on their mules and fled. In the meantime the news reached David, but it was wrong, the messenger told David that all of his sons were killed. David tore his clothes and fell on the floor. But just a while later the correct news came that it was only Amnon who was killed. Then David's sons arrived and everyone wept bitterly. And David mourned for his son.

Absalom in the meantime fled and went to the king of Geshur and was there for three years. David missed his son terribly and longed to see him.

All of this heartache could have been avoided had David disciplined Amnon in the first place. David suffered the loss of two of his sons in the process, Amnon being killed and Absalom being exiled. Plus it caused emotional stress to his whole household and all his sons and servants.

It was primarily David's fault as he didn't discipline Amnon, but it was also not right of Absalom to take revenge into his own hands. He should rather have gone to talk to his father and maybe sort something out; instead he harbored hatred in his heart and added murder to it. And in the end it cost him as well. He had to flee from his home and stay in a foreign land for three years. Later on we will see that it cost him his life too. That was not God's plan for him. God wanted to much more for him, and yet he chose to cherish hatred and revenge.

Do you maybe have revenge on the mind? Do you have someone that has done you a lot of harm that you want to get even with? Is there something that happened that hurt you so much that you cannot help but hate the person? There are so many examples in the Bible as well as in our modern day life that show us that hatred and revenge doesn't pay. It doesn't help us at all. It keeps us prisoner in our own cage and because we harbor those feelings, God cannot come close to us and bless us. We in effect shut the door in His face. We need to let go. We need to forgive and then we will see that the prisoner we are releasing is ourselves. Jesus came to forgive us all, of every single sin that we have ever committed, and because He lives within us, He wants to forgive others through us as well.

Yes, Absalom had every right to be angry; he had every right to want to get even. But he should have given that over to God. Saul also did terrible things to David, and yet David never sought revenge. He left it in God's capable hands and God judged Saul for what he did. Absalom should have done the same. We can learn from him and see where his hatred got him. Now we should make sure we don't follow the same destructive path as he did. God wants us filled with His love. His love is the most powerful force in the Universe and if we want to have it manifest in our lives, we should allow His love to consume us. And this can only happen if we let all hatred and thoughts of revenge go. Jesus came to give us life and life in abundance and this is found in His love. Harbor His love and see all the good things manifesting in your life!

Father, so many people have done us wrong. But then we remember how many did Jesus wrong too and He forgave them all. Help us to do the same. We don't want to be prisoners of our own hatred anymore. We want to be filled with Your love and more and more of You. Amen

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