Eulogize your Enemy?

Scripture Focus: 2 Samuel 1.17-18
17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow…

Reflection: Eulogize your Enemy?
By Erin Newton

Would you write a eulogy for your enemy? If someone targeted your life, would you speak kind words in memory of their death? The questions sound absurd.

When God’s anointing passed from Saul to David, the king sought to kill him. With every turn, David’s life was in mortal danger. There was no peace between them. In the end, however, the news of Saul’s death stirred David to write a dirge, a funeral song.

The book of Psalms is filled with songs of lament that seek the favor of God and reflect upon God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness. This song is different. There are no calls to God or reflections of past hope. It is very much a eulogy for Saul and Jonathan. A funeral song for a man who hated David and a man who loved David—a friend and a foe.

It is little wonder that David felt compelled to sing praises of his closest friend. It is unthinkable that he would do the same for Saul. What compels David to give such honor to someone who, by all accounts, did not deserve it?

The answer is David’s relationship with God. The words were honoring Saul and Jonathan, but the motivation was to honor God. For all the years of hiding in the wilderness or dodging assassination attempts, David waited patiently to see the outworking of his anointing. He never raised a hand against Saul, though he was tempted on occasion!

How we speak of the dead reveals one aspect of our relationship with God. David likely struggled with hoping for Saul’s demise so that his future would be secured. He had enough reasons to be opposed to the king. His faith, however, would not allow him to act upon such thoughts.

Each person is born as the image of God. Each person dies as the same image of God. How do we easily honor new life at birth, pure and innocent, and dishonor the same life in death, ravaged by sin and broken? We cannot celebrate evil, but we must find space to honor God at death. It is a difficult task; one we may spend our lives trying to understand.

Like David, Jesus speaks words of grace about his enemies, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Perhaps, we can learn that relationships with our enemies are a reflection of our relationship with God.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Bow down you ear, O Lord, and answer me…
Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful. — Psalm 86.1-2

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Samuel 1 (Listen 3:54)
Revelation 11 (Listen 3:24)

Read more about Eating With Enemies
When Christ leads us into the heavenly city, we will find ourselves dining and worshiping with people we harmed or who harmed us.

Read more about Do You Know The Enemy?
Do we remember who the real enemy is or are we too focused on the powers of this earth?

Chastened Towards Freedom

Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 11.31-32
But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

Reflection: Chastened Towards Freedom
By John Tillman

Does Paul teach perfectionism? Must we attain holiness by our self-will? In his book, True Spirituality, Francis Schaeffer addresses this confusion:

“If I lay hold upon the blood of Christ in faith, reality rests here: not in trying to live as though the Bible teaches perfectionism. That is no basis for reality; that is only a basis either for subterfuge or despair. But there is a reality here: the reality of sins forgiven…This is the reality of restored relationship.”

Schaeffer uses the word “chastening” in his writing, taking it from the New King James translation from which he taught:

“The chastening of a child of God does not have a penal aspect. That was finished on the cross. There is no double jeopardy when the holy God is the Judge. Our guilt is gone, once and forever. Therefore if we judge ourselves, we are not chastened.”

There are multiple words here. The way we are to “judge” ourselves is diakrinō, meaning to separate, to make a distinction, or to discern. The “judgment” (krinō) which believers may avoid is that which means to be sentenced or punished. Instead, we are “chastened” (paidĕuō), which means trained, educated, or disciplined.

We are not taught perfectionism in Paul, but rather confession and submission to the Holy Spirit:

“This is what Paul was urging upon us. It is overwhelmingly better not to sin. But is it not wonderful that when we do sin, we can hurry to the place of restoration?”

Sin does more than separate us from God. We are isolated, marooned and abandoned by our selfishness.

“Man is first of all separated from God, then from himself, and finally from his fellow men and from nature. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ will give an absolute and perfect restoration of all these things when Jesus comes. But in the present life, there is to be a substantial healing, including the results of the separation between a man and himself. This is the first step towards freedom in the present life from the results of the bonds of sin.”

May we “judge” ourselves with sober judgment, knowing our Judge is Christ, and yearning to yield to any chastening of his Spirit that may come.
May the Spirit chasten us towards freedom.

*Quotations from, True Spirituality by Francis A. Schaeffer.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick…And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous but sinners. — Matthew 9.12-13

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Samuel 31 (Listen – 2:03) 
1 Corinthians 11 (Listen – 4:20)

This Weekend’s Readings
2 Samuel 1 (Listen – 3:54), 1 Corinthians 12 (Listen – 4:25)
2 Samuel 2 (Listen – 5:07), 1 Corinthians 13 (Listen – 2:23)

Thank You!
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Read more about Prayer for Older Brothers
One son was humiliated by his own scandalous behavior.
One son was humiliated by his father’s scandalous grace.

Read more about We Confess
The gospel is better served by time spent confessing our own sins than time spent accusing the world of theirs.