“‘Saul and Jonathan – in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.’” 2 Samuel 1:23 (NIV)
David calls Saul and Jonathan “loved and gracious” in this poem to honor the fallen king and his son. This reference to Jonathan makes sense. David and Jonathan were the truest of friends. “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me.” (2 Samuel 1:26 NIV)
But, calling Saul “loved and gracious” is a lot harder to understand. Saul’s jealousy of David began after he defeated Goliath in 1 Samuel 18, and progressed to the point where Saul’s mission was to kill David.
This proclamation of David showed his graciousness and ability to forgive. David lived out Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:44-45: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
It’s easy to love and be nice to people who are nice to me. But, how often do I want to be nice to…or even pray for someone who has hurt or angered me? Not so often. Okay, hardly ever.
I do remember a time, shortly after college, working with a woman who was especially hard to get along with. She was downright mean to me at times, and we even got into a couple of arguments on the job. After many weeks of unpleasantness, somehow I “came up with” the idea to pray for her. (Thank you Holy Spirit.) The outcome was amazing! I would never have believed it could happen, but we actually got to the point where we had fun together and enjoyed each other’s company. The strife was completely taken away.
As a mom, my greatest strife now comes mostly from my kids pushing the limits of their boundaries. Am I making it a priority to pray about this? What about my encounters with others who might do something that irritates me? Am I showing a gracious and forgiving spirit, or rather acting superior?
I pray for a gracious spirit. You have shown me grace and forgiveness beyond measure. Please help me to pass that grace on to others. I ask that You would help me to forgive quickly and completely. Thank you for the times when You have resolved situations that I thought were beyond hope. Thank you for always being there and for making Your power available, if I would but only ask.