“And David said to his men, ‘Every man strap on his sword!’ And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
There are a lot of different kinds of mad. Very rarely is someone ever just regular old garden-variety angry. If you’re mad about something, it’s helpful to know what kind of mad you are. There is selfish-mad and disappointed-mad and jealous-mad. Parents may know well the feeling of being disobeyed-mad or disrespected-mad. Most of us have at one time or another been bad attitude-mad. Employees probably know overworked-mad. What student doesn’t know what it feels like to be stressed out-mad? But have you ever been hurt-mad? How about offended-mad? Those cousins are two of the most dangerous kinds of mad there are.
When we get offended-mad our natural reaction is to want to return the offense. And rarely to we simply want to return the offense in kind. We want to return the original offense, sure, but we also want to add our own offense to it as a way of paying back our offender.
David was offended-mad. He had made an entirely reasonable request and in response was rejected and insulted. He was offended. Deeply so. And he was about to do something in response that he would have later regretted. He was about to do something he could not have undone. But for the quick-thinking intervention of a wise and gracious woman he would have too.
When we’re offended-mad the ever-present temptation is to respond with more than equal harshness to our offender. We want to get even plus. Yet what will this accomplish? It will only create a climate of resentment that will lead to future conflicts. It will create a cycle of anger and hatred that will eventually destroy the lives of everyone who is a part of it. There is no good in this.
When we are offended, I know our first reaction is to respond in kind (or worse), but if we will take Jesus’ path of responding with kindness, we will diffuse the situation and create a climate of grace and generosity that will avoid future conflicts and may even win us a new friend. When you’re hurt, don’t respond in kind, respond with kindness.