Yesterday we talked about discernment and the rules for our own discernment and how the rules to discern if our actions are God will or ours.
However there are times when we find ourselves not discerning our actions but worrying about discerning the actions of others. When should we base our actions on discerning the actions of others?
The best example of how to behave in such a situation comes from King David in the Old Testament
As David was approaching Bahurim, a man named Shimei, the son of Gera of the same clan as Saul’s family, was coming out of the place, cursing as he came. He threw stones at David and at all the king’s officers, even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard, were on David’s right and on his left.2 Samuel 16:5-13
Shimei was saying as he cursed: “Away, away, you murderous and wicked man! The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul, in whose stead you became king, and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom. And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer.”
Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king: “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.” But the king replied: “What business is it of mine or of yours, sons of Zeruiah, that he curses? Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?'” Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants: “If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life, how much more might this Benjaminite do so! Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.” David and his men continued on the road, while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went.
How easy would it have been for King David to vent all of his troubles on Shimei but he discerns that this would have been HIS will rather than God’s will. He not only defers to Shimei’s judgement on God’s will but trusts in the mercy of the Lord at the time of his greatest affliction.
During this Lenten season may we love our neighbor as ourselves and part of that is to be willing to show the same consideration to another’s discernment that we would want given to our own.