LINK: 2 Samuel 10
David wanted to show kindness to Hanun, the new Ammonite king, because Hanun's father had been kind to him, but Hanun's advisers led him to believe that David had sinister motives for sending his men. So, David's men were humiliated by having their beards and garments cut. In Israelite culture, a full beard was a sign of maturity and authority. Consequently, what Hanun's men did to David's men was a great indignity. This was considered a declaration of war, and the Israelites responded by defeating the Ammonites.
REFLECTION (written in 2008)
Have you ever had anyone assume sinister motives or ill will on your part? Just last night, a friend reminded me of something that happened last year. This friend had asked me if another woman could be in our small Bible study. So, I asked the others in the study if that would be OK. They said great, and we invited her to be part of the study. She joined the study and things were going pretty well. So, I thought.
A few months into the study this woman called me to say how hurt she was that I did not want her to be in the Bible study.
I said, "But you are in the study. I heard that you wanted to be in it, and I asked the others in the study if it would be OK, and we invited you to join us. When did I not want you in the study?"
She said, "I asked ____ if I could be in the study in the spring, and I did not get in it until September." (I should say that there was NO STUDY to ask to be in during the spring. So, I am not sure what she meant by that).
I said, "Well, if you wanted to be in the study in the spring, I was not informed of that until September at which time I invited you to join us. Maybe you need to talk to ____ about that since she was the one you asked about being in the study."
Apparently, _____ does not remember this woman asking about being in the study in the spring. So, this woman thought I had "held her off" for six months. I could not hold someone off if I did not know she was asking, could I?
I assured her that I did not mean anything ill toward her, and we cleared up the misunderstanding. We finished the study year, and I thought that was behind us; but last night, my friend said this woman called her last week and wanted to talk about "me" and rehash the whole situation. My friend told this woman that if anyone was to blame, it was not me but her since she forgot that the woman had asked to be in the study. This woman still wants to blame me and talk behind my back though.
She is still assuming I meant ill against her.
Oh well. So much for thinking you are at peace with all people. :(
(2011 Update: We are at peace now after many months of talking it through.)
If you have someone assuming ill will, pray about it and see what the Lord would have for you to do.
Lord, I thank You that You know the motives of our hearts no matter what people assume. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.