Devotion for the Week...
My husband reads my blog. He reads the comments people leave for me and will sometimes mention that he liked one of my devotions, or that someone left a really nice comment. I love that he takes such an interest in this space and what I'm doing here. One day he read the devotion for the week and came upstairs to tell me he thought I wrote it to him. The whole time he was reading, he was waiting for me to mention one particular incident that had happened the morning of the day I typed the devotion, but I never mentioned it. I laughed because I hadn't thought of that incident at all as I wrote the devotion. In fact, as often happens, most of the devotion had been composed in my head for a couple of days before I took the time to sit and type it into the computer. The inspiration for it actually had nothing to do with him at all!
Have you ever had that happen? You read something, or heard something, and it seemed like it was directed right at you? It's like the author knows you personally, knows your thoughts and feelings, knows your situation and has written specifically to address you, even if really the author was thinking about something else entirely.
The religious leaders in Jesus' day had the feeling Jesus was talking to them too, but they were actually right - He was talking about them! "When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet" (Matthew 21:45). They wanted to arrest Him because He was talking about them, and how they weren't living the way God intended. Since that went against their own view of themselves, their immediate reaction was to be defensive.
We do that too, don't we? Someone points out that we've done or said something wrong, or a message that seems to be directed right at us makes us aware of our wrong attitude, and we immediately try to justify ourselves, or we try to come up with all the reasons the other person's opinion doesn't matter. Rarely do we immediately agree that we have been wrong. Instead we try to cling to our own opinion of ourselves, which says that what we've been doing is perfectly okay. Or if it's not perfectly okay, at least it's not as bad as what so-and-so does.
There was one man in the Bible who got the reaction perfectly right when confronted with his own wrongdoing. King David had taken another man's wife, got her pregnant, sent the husband to battle and gave orders to the commander of the army to put the husband where he would be most likely to be killed, which he was. The prophet Nathan came to King David and confronted him. David's response was simple. He "said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord” (v. 13). No justification, no trying to get rid of Nathan for pointing out the awful truth about David's actions, no pretending it wasn't true. Just simply admitting the truth.
So, the question is, how will we react the next time we are confronted with our own wrongs? Whether the person confronting us is doing so directly, as Nathan did to King David, or God is speaking to us through someone who is totally unaware of our situation is irrelevant. Once we are aware of our wrong actions, or attitudes or thoughts or whatever, what will our reactions be? Will we be like the Pharisees, who refused to accept the truth and sought to attack Jesus? Or will we be like David, who accepted the truth and acknowledged his wrongdoing?