Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Relational Bravery: Day 3 of our February Fast

He made my feet like the feet of a dear and set me secure on the heights. Psalm 18:33

It was about 10 years between David's anointing to be king and his actual coronation as king. For the best part of that decade he was a fugitive, on the run from a mad king who hurled a spear at him in a fit of rage and hunted him down out of jealousy and insecurity. On two occasions, David could have retaliated against Saul, killing him with his own spear. But each time, even though his friends urged him to do it, he resisted, trusting the Lord for His vindication and salvation. David displayed remarkable relational bravery. 

In Psalm 18, his imagery of a deer standing on the heights is very different from 'advancing against a troop' or 'leaping over a wall.' It speaks of the ability to stand on the tricky terrain
of relational tension that will not resolve as quickly as we'd like it to. All of us have some of those relationships in our lives. We would love to escape them, or for them just to be completely peaceful, but they take enormous grace and real patience on our part. and often we blow it out of insecurity, and hurl the spear back at the person instead of being secure on the heights.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus about the kinds of relationships that require ongoing effort. "Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, (4:3)
warning them and us, that when we allow a root of bitterness to spring up in us, harboring anger and malice, we grieve the Spirit and give the devil a foothold. (4:26) The only way we can be thick-skinned yet tender-hearted in relationally tricky situations is through Jesus, who forgave and loved those who betrayed and denied him. 

On the last day of our fast, let's ask God to help us to be relationally brave. Perhaps you need to have a conversation with someone where you repent of anger or bitterness towards them. Let them know that you are committed to working through relational tension with them. Honest, loving communication requires bravery. Perhaps you have been tempted to hurl back the spear at a Saul-like person in you life. Resolve, with the help of the Spirit, to be like David. Forgive and wait for the vindication of God. Let's beware of relegating relationships to the material realm. Relationships are deeply spiritual. They are the very fabric of the body of Christ that holds the glory of Christ. "For where the brothers dwell in unity, there God commands his blessing." (Psalm 133)

See you tonight at 6:30pm for a feast and a final session of worship and prayer.


  1. I really like what you have said here Alan. It's not only a call to avoid retaliation, but also to look within and make amends if they are due. Saying sorry is hard, seeing where we were wrong is harder, and not fighting back is agony!

    But the agony is temporary and the reward of freedom is much more long-lasting. I am moved to search deeper to see if I am holding onto any resentments and if I owe any apologies. 😊

  2. During prayer this morning this is exactly what I was wrestling with, have I become too cynical and bitter towards others unknowingly? As my husband and I are in the delicate situation of feeling led by God to move to this church we need to prayerfully do so and make sure it isn't because of any harbored resentment. We feel that it is out of obedience but and although there may be some justification in some anger, I need to lay that at the feet of Jesus and let Him deal with it as He sees best. If that requires us speaking the truth, pray we can do it love and not anger.

    I have had miraculous experiences where I have seen God give supernatural vindication, and surprisingly finding myself grieving that it had to be so when I had so much anger before. (The most profound story being that the son of a family friend that abused me as a child died in a "freak" accident. I had found myself praying for him after feeling nothing but anger and hate for many years because of the abuse. Instead of joy for vindication after his death I felt grief that it had to end that way) I know from those experiences that I can allow Him to take care of my anger and hurt. He is better at vindication than we are! It might not be in my timing of course, but the silver lining in that is growing to understand that if God is that patient with others when they are going astray, then he is patient with me too!