by Peter G. Feenstra
Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33)
Grief is a release valve the Lord has given to break the stress and tension of living in a sinful world. Godly sorrow is born out of love. Where there is no true love, there is no true grief. True love does not seek revenge and does not try to get even with the offender. Love isn’t self-absorbed in times of sorrow or joy. Love does not ask, “Why did this happen to me and my family? Why did I have to lose a son?” This is clear in David’s reaction to the death of his son, Absalom. The love of the Lord has conquered his heart for a son whose heart was filled with hatred and selfishness.
If David had returned hatred with hatred nothing would have been gained, and the day of victory would have been a dark day for all of Israel. When all is said and done and Absalom’s body lies lifeless in a pit, David’s love remains constant. In David’s lament, you hear the cry of one who understands a golden rule of Christian living which Christ would vocalize when He called His disciples to love their enemies. David demonstrates the same love that brought Jesus to pray on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” This same love moved Stephen to pray for those who were stoning him to death, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” (Acts 7:60)
True love hates sin and therefore seeks out and prays for the lost sinner. Is that your response to a person who is straying? Is your heart gripped with grief? In this fallen world there will be people close to us who take a totally wrong direction. It is so easy to get upset with them or to shun them. It’s easy to speak negatively about them or to label the person as a loser. Such a reaction does not convey true love and grief. Rather than be critical of David’s grief, consider whether such grief is felt sufficiently within the church of Christ. It is an eerie silence if the people of God do not grieve and lament for their personal sins and for those who have gone astray. To show true love for the people we like is not difficult. It takes far more effort to extend this love to those who are on a wrong path. Perhaps we ought to think about setting aside a time for praying and fasting, a day to bring our supplications to the Lord for those who are straying from the path of life. Let the love of Christ for sinners flow through you to those experiencing the greatest need.For further information about this resource, click here.