The First Lesson

The hardest lesson I have ever learned was the lesson of Shimei, son of Gera. (See 2 Samuel 16: 5-14 to see what I’m speaking to.)

King David was God’s anointed to be King of Israel. If there has ever been any man in history who had a right to demand respect or reject a lesson offered in the wrong spirit, it was David. Yet, when a man followed him and his entire entourage, cursing and throwing rocks, he told them to leave the man alone.

Likewise, for myself, there was a time in my life when I was in a position to be constantly wronged by another person. During that time, the first lesson I had to learn was that no matter what was done to me, my first responsibility was to do right MYSELF regardless of everything else.

I have an extremely pronounced, one might even say overblown sense of justice. When someone commits injustice, it enrages me. There is no shrugging it off–nor does it matter the size of the issue. The principle is what matters, and the intent (even carelessness or laziness) entirely eclipses the results. This is especially true when the person causing the injustice is in some position of authority.

So, when I was mistreated, then held to the highest standards in my own conduct, it brought this point directly into focus. It was among the top five hardest things I’ve ever done–looking to my own misdeeds first. In the end, I had to correct my own failings, even when I was having my nose rubbed in them by someone who, according to the splinter test (Matthew 7:5), had no business teaching me anything.

What not to do…

Normally, I try to focus on what to DO rather than what to avoid, but this is something we all need to pay close attention to. I almost never meet someone who has really taken this point to heart. Check yourself, see if you shift your focus from yourself to others when you do something wrong and have it pointed out.

1. Do you make excuses? (about anything at all?)
“But he said…”
“But all I did was…”
“But it’s my birthday, so…”
“I just can’t handle…”

2. Do you blame?
“You JERK! How could you…”
“If you don’t stop treating me like…”

Whatever it is, STOP. Change that habit.

The point here is really simple.

Your sins and wrongs should be your first concern.

And your second.

And your third.

And your fourth.

Maybe by the time you’ve thought about your own wrongs five or six times you can see if someone else is doing something wrong, but ONLY if your goal is to help them out. (Because really, it’s not your business anyway unless they want help.)

The only thing you have any influence over in an eternal sense is your own heart. Over everything else, God is the sole master.