Do Unto Others, Especially When They Cannot Retaliate

The opposite of being a person after God’s own heart.

"David and Saul" by Ernst Josephson, 1878Public domain

“David and Saul” by Ernst Josephson, 1878
Public domain

Imagine you were destined to arise to a position of prominence. There is only one problem: That position is occupied, and the person occupying it has no intention of letting it go. Now, imagine that this person hounds you for a number of years until you begin to fear for your life and flee. Imagine further that this other person hunts you down for 7 – 8 years until he finally dies, thus vacating that position and allowing you to take your rightful place. What should your reaction be?

Well, David’s reaction certainly is one that I’m not sure would have been my first impulse.  He gave a eulogy that praised Saul!

17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:

18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)

19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!

20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.

22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.

23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.

24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.

26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

2Sa 1:17-27

David was a man after God’s own heart.  While he was not a perfect human being, if someone does the opposite of what David did, doesn’t that mean that person is acting against God’s heart?

Don’t Curse the Dead

I was once told by my father that it was wrong to speak evil of the dead.  Unfortunately, he did not always follow his own advice, but that made him very human.

It took me a long time to really understand this, though.  I mean, why not?  They aren’t going to come up out of the grave and get even with me, after all.

Isn’t that the point, though?

Why is abortion wrong?  Some say it is wrong because it is murder, and that would be true.  However, what makes it a particularly heinous act?  Why was child murder specifically mentioned as a reason for God driving out the Canaanites?

Certainly, it goes against nature itself!  A mother and a father are supposed to love and cherish their children, after all.  Protecting their young is built into many animal species instinctually.

However, consider God’s wrath at the Amalekites for what amounted to terrorist activities that targeted the defenseless stragglers at the rear of the advance towards Canaan.  Consider God’s constant instructions to take care of the widows and orphans.  Why?  They are defenseless!

12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.

13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:

14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

~ Lk 14:12-14

We are to show kindness to those who are alive and downtrodden.  Is it any different for those who are dead and cannot defend themselves?

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Php 4:8

Again, is this just for the living?

Do Unto Others

31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Lk 6:31

The above, often called The Golden Rule, is taught even to children.  If you want to be treated with kindness and respect, then that is how you should treat others.  If you want your desires to be taken into account whenever decisions are to be made, then take the desires of others into account when making decisions.

If you want to be remembered well after you die, then speak well of others who are dead as often and as in many ways as possible.

The opposite of that, of course, is to take every conceivable opportunity to bring up the faults of dead men, even if they are not the main topic at hand.  It is the spirit of reviling causing factions (Gal 5:20 NIV).  Those who do so show the spirit with with they work is not Christ’s Spirit.

If we are to love our enemies and treat them well, then how much more those who cannot offer a defense for themselves?

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Mt 5:43-45

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