Just Like Us

Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 104; 149, 2 Samuel 16:1-23, Acts 22:17-29, Mark 11:1-11

Political intrigue. Royal infighting. Double agents. Unchecked lust. Questioned loyalties. Revenge killings.

The story of David and his family could be the plot of a bestselling summer beach novel or a hit Netflix series. At any given point in the narrative, it’s hard to draw a firm line between the good guys and the bad guys. Sometimes they don’t even know themselves. When David’s bodyguards want to kill someone for cursing him, he stops them and says:

“If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ […] My own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD has bidden him.”

David is tragically flawed. So is Absalom, the son who betrays him. Both have complex motivations for their behavior. We can in turn find both of them completely sympathetic and utterly disappointing.

In other words, Bible Stars: They’re Just Like Us!

Past or present and undoubtedly into the future, humanity is what it is.

We can bemoan the state of the world and its inhabitants, or we can be grateful for a God who loves creation enough to work with us as we are. We will misstep; we will falter; we will do horrible things; but God will not give up on us – even when we give up on ourselves. For all his flaws, David remained a willing servant. Even during the time of his exile, he considered not that God had let him down, but that his desires might not be God’s will.

If God loves, accepts, and works through the frustrating brood that is humanity … so must we. No matter how much we anger and dumbfound one another, there really are no alternatives. Christ challenges us to do good to the people who are unlike us, the people who hurt us, the people who have nothing to offer us. Rather than denigrate others for their flaws and sins, let us embrace and uplift each other as God will always do with us.

Additional Reading:
For thoughts on today’s reading from Acts, see Citizenship.

Comfort: God loves us as we are and calls us to be more. 

Challenge: Try praying for your enemies, not to defeat them, but to bless them.

Prayer: Loving and righteous God, teach me to love as Christ loved. Amen.

Discussion: Does it comfort or trouble you that giants of the faith are very much like us?

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