The Bible spends a lot of time talking about warfare. There are many examples of how to (and not to) fight our enemies. But what if I am my own worst enemy?
Hanun’s dad, King Nahash, died, and Hanun found himself king of the Ammonites. Nahash and David had formed a bond, so David sent a delegation to pay his respects to Hanun in the loss of his father.
How did Hanun receive this kindness? He humiliated David’s men in a most degrading fashion. When David heard what had happened, he didn’t retaliate. He could have taken revenge on Hanun on behalf of the humiliated men. But David’s concern was for the men themselves. Hanun wasn’t even worth acknowledging.
Sometimes ignoring someone who wants an enemy is the best way to handle them. The fact that David ignored Hanun made Hanun look bad. David took the high road and left Hanun alone in the gutter.
Now here’s where Hanun becomes his own worst enemy. He could have allowed David’s actions to convict him, drive him to his knees in repentance, and cause him to ask David and his men for forgiveness. We would be reading a completely different account had Hanun humbled himself.
But he didn’t. He responded to David’s lack of retaliation in anger. How dare he ignore me? Who does he think he is? I’ll show him.
Hanun allowed his pride to take over, and rallied an army against the Jews. A lot of men died as a result. David’s army routed Hanun’s. It didn’t have to be that way.
Dear one, we don’t have to react every time we think someone is unfair to us. Walking away from a conflict isn’t weakness. In fact, very often it is the most daring course of action.
My heart breaks for my great-nieces and nephews as I realize they are growing up in a world of reactionaries. Self absorbed, ego driven, prideful behavior is honored in our society. You get your fifteen minutes of fame if you don’t walk away from a conflict, no matter how wrong you are. The high road, it seems, is for losers.
Sure there is a time to pick up a sword and go into battle. David did that in the chapters we read today. But when I hear God say we are to love our enemies, do good to those who misuse us, pray for those who are unfair to us, turn the other cheek, I don’t believe picking up a sword should be our first response to conflict.
If we allow our pride, or our sense of fairness, or our fragile egos dictate our reactions, we become our own worst enemies. Let’s determine to represent Jesus by living according to His example. Let’s face opposition according to Scripture. How many times do we read to stop, to listen, to just be still, before we read the battle is the Lord’s.
I’m ok with Satan being my worst enemy. I’m not okay with me taking over that role.