21–27 August 2016.
If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we make mistakes. We all try to make the best decisions we can, but somehow things still go wrong. But while making mistakes is normal, the important thing is how we react to those mistakes.
In 1 Chronicles 19 David is saddened by the death of the Ammonite king, so he sends messengers to take condolences to the king’s son Hanun. But the Ammonite princes don’t trust David at all, and instead of seeing this as a kind gesture they convince Hanun that David’s men are evil spies. So Hanun abuses the messengers and sends them back home.
But very quickly the Ammonites realize that they have made a terrible mistake. So what do they do? Do they try to fix things? Do they go and apologize or confess it was all a big misunderstanding? No. Instead they refuse to back down from what they did!
Instead of talking and apologizing, they spend incredible amounts of money to hire warriors and chariots and prepare for a fight they know will now come. Because no one is willing to talk or to back down from their position, what begins as a small misunderstanding quickly turns into a terrible war between the Israelites and the Ammonites, and even draws in two extra Syrian armies! In the end, 47,000 people are killed. Families mourn the meaningless deaths of their sons, brothers, and fathers. Why? Because of pride and foolishness and the refusal to just say sorry.
How often we fall into this same trap today! We all make mistakes – that’s normal. But when we make mistakes, do we go straightaway and apologize and explain what happened? Do we try to make peace again? Often we start working to protect our pride instead. We refuse to say sorry or to find solutions, and instead we defend our mistakes and refuse to back down. And then just like in today’s reading, the end result is misery and disaster for everyone.
In Matthew 5:9, Jesus says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” So when we make mistakes, don’t let pride get in the way. Instead, go quickly and make peace!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis