This question is for you to ask yourself. Are you the person that finds it easy to make excuses or blame others? You know that person that “throws people under the bus” and points the finger at anyone else to avoid taking responsibility? One of the refreshing character qualities of a follower of Jesus is they own their mistakes!
This past Sunday, as we looked at 2 Samuel 3, we focused on the drama created by two ambitious people, Abner and Joab. These men stand in contrast to King David in a key area that speaks to us as followers of Jesus. They blamed others, sluffed off their sin and even rationalized the wrongs that they had done. Now, King David was not perfect either, yet, we have several instances when confronted with sinful behavior he owned it and faced the consequences. Finger pointing is really a manifestation of pride. The Biblical antidote is humility.
Let’s begin by defining pride. Now there is good pride that reflects our feelings about an accomplishment by ourselves or others. But here I am focusing on the bad side of pride. One definition defines it this way, “having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.” This character flaw finds it roots in Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience of God in the garden when they ate the forbidden fruit. This manifestation has continued today to make ourselves god in our lives. Humility on the other hand is defined as, “freedom from pride or arrogance : the quality or state of being humble, a modest or low view of one’s own importance;” A follower of Jesus can truly be humble because our value and worth is not determined by our accomplishments or what others think of us. Humility is really a demonstration of trust of God is in control. It is letting God be God in our lives.
One practical way that we can grow in humility is by surrendering our schedule to God. It is not stated directly in the narrative, but we see that David was surrendered to God’s time frame in reuniting the nation of which he would be king. We read, “There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.” (2 Samuel 3:1) I am convinced that the 10 years David spent as a wanted man on the run taught him to surrender his schedule to God’s timeline. He manifests patience, which is inseparably linked with humility. The “long war” is a military struggle defined by multiple skirmishes and a multitude of conflicts. It was a slow process. And yet I wonder how often our personal ambition, like that of Abner and Joab, leads us to cut corners and do things our own way. The end result is a mess that we have created by the sin we have committed.
Now, let’s be honest. We all blow it! Yet we often miss the opportunity to grow by owning our wrongs. We find it easy to blame someone else for our behavior. Or we cover by only confessing enough to get by. The sad reality is that in the end we are the one that suffers along with our relationship with others. I was reminded recently of the importance of humility in Peter’s words to pastors and to all followers of Jesus, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5–7) King David was a model of humility. How about you? You can begin by pointing the finger at yourself and not others.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson