He said to his men, “May the Lord keep me far away from doing such a thing to my lord, who is the Lord’s chosen one, by extending my hand against him. After all, he is the Lord’s chosen one.”

[1 Sam 24:6 NET]

“Would it not be human to resent it?” said one who had received an insult. “Yes,” was the reply, “but it would be godlike to forgive it.” David did the godlike thing. He had a chance to avenge himself. He had his cruel enemy in his power. One stroke, and Saul would never have troubled him any more. David’s life would then have been safe. He would have become king at once. His men were urging it, and he himself was tempted to do it. Yet he overcame the temptation, and allowed Saul to pass out of his hand unharmed. He listened to the voice of God speaking in his own conscience, and restrained the impulse to avenge himself.

The first impulse of a child, when wronged or hurt by another, is to seek revenge. Sometimes older people encourage this evil spirit in children, by telling them to whip the chair or the rocking-horse by which they have chanced to be hurt. In older people, too, the desire for revenge is natural, and can be repressed only by the higher law of love which Christ teaches. The lesson is, that the punishment of sin must be left in God’s hands. Our duty is to bear patiently the wrongs and injuries others may inflict upon us, not giving reviling for reviling, to repay unkindness with kindness, to overcome evil with good.

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