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Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight.” 2 Samuel 10:12

One day while David was King he heard that a King in a nearby country had died. He decided to show a ‘random act of kindness’ by sending a group of men to the funeral on his behalf. However, once there, the motives of David’s men were misunderstood. Rather than appreciating the gesture of condolences, the men were treated as spies. They were humiliated in front of the entire nation and sent back to David.

Not only were the men sent back humiliated, the country that humiliated them hired a group of fighting men to attack David because they suspected that he would be angry and attack them soon.

David rallied his troops and prepared for battle. In the course of battle, Joab, David’s head military guy, found himself surrounded by the enemy. He drew up a plan for attack by dividing his army in two divisions. One division would fight the group in the back and one division would fight the group in front. Joab’s final words to the other commander were basically this, “Fight hard. Fight bravely. Defend the honor of our God. But remember, God will be the one that really fights the battle.

As it was, the enemy saw they were no match for David. Both groups turned and ran! Eventually both armies were defeated by David’s men.

There are times in each of our lives when we try to do something kind for others and our motives and/or actions are misinterpreted. What we mean for good is taken as evil. No matter what we do to try to resolve the misunderstanding, it seems there is no peaceful resolution. During those times it’s important to take a look at how David handled the situation.

First of all, we should never hesitate to show kindness to people when the opportunity arises. It’s important, however to realize that when we do that there may be risk involved. While that should never stop us from acting, it should cause us to be wise in how and when we show kindness.

The second lesson we learn is that when we are misunderstood we should seek God’s wisdom in resolving the conflict. Obviously that doesn’t mean we hire armies to beat up the person who misunderstood us! It simply means that we should take whatever measures are appropriate to try to explain the situation while, at the same time realizing that resolution may not be possible. We are only responsible for how we handle the misunderstanding.

Lastly, remember that resolution is ultimately the work of God. We take risks to show kindness to those around us even when they are ‘enemies’. If our acts are accepted we have won our brother. But if our actions are misunderstood and conflict arises we must remember that God is the one that must remember that only God can change a persons heart. Trust God to reconcile each conflict in your life. Live wisely, grace-fully and, as much as possible, at peace with all men.

PRAYER: Holy God. I thank you today for the fact that you have shown me the ultimate kindness in forgiving me through Jesus Christ. I confess to you that I get angry when my acts of kindness are misunderstood. I’m hurt because often those misunderstandings are among friends of mine. Give me strength to be kind, wisdom in resolving misunderstandings and trust in letting you change all of us involved in this conflict. Let me live at peace with those around me so that I can show Christ’s love. Amen.

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