Sticks and Stones
Ouch! Offensive words hurt, don’t they? We’ve all been offended at one time or another. The old adage says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But is that really true? I don’t think so! Bruises fade, and broken bones heal, but words can linger in our memory for a long time. If you’ve ever been wounded by false or unkind words, David’s encounter with a “stone thrower” (2 Samuel 16:5-15) offers solace and strength.
Betrayed by his own son, David was forced to flee from his home. It was one of the most painful experiences of his life. As he left town, heartbroken, a man with a grudge added insult to injury. He assaulted David—not only with slander, but with stones too. He was actually throwing stones at David!
Now, this man’s accusations were false and he twisted the truth. David could have defended himself. How easy would it have been for David (who knew a thing or two about stones) to cast one right back at his accuser? But he didn’t.
What did David do? What would we do? When a coworker, neighbor, friend, or even a family member offends or makes false accusations, let’s learn a lesson from David.
David heard the accusations. He endured the insults. But he did not retaliate.
This reminds us of the response that Jesus modeled for us. “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV).
David left the matter with God. We can be certain that he took the offense to the Lord in prayer, because that was David’s habit. We know this, because reading the psalms is like reading David’s diary! In the psalms, David openly expresses how he feels, how he reacts and what he prays. Hear what David says in Psalm 139:23.
“Search me O God, and know my heart . . . see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
We too, need to allow the Lord to search our hearts. Humbly and sincerely take that offense to the Lord. Spread it out before Him and ask, “Lord, this is what was said to me or about me. Lord, please show me if there is any truth in this so I can turn from it. But if there isn’t, please help me to let it go.”
Accusations should teach us to pray. When someone casts an accusing stone, run to the Lord and “cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).
We don’t have to carry stones of offense. The Lord wants us to cast (throw) all our cares—our anxiety, discouragement, distress, suffering, every circumstance—onto Him. And because He cares for you, He will take care of them.
One more thing. When we are wronged, we can choose to be offended—or not. For David, this was an all-out assault on his reputation. Yet he chose not to take offense, not to retaliate. Instead, he chose to trust God to defend him. Will you trust God to defend you? Will you allow the Lord to be the keeper of your reputation?
I want to challenge each one of us . . . when a stone is thrown at you, instead of throwing one back, will you pray? Ask the Lord to search your heart. If He shows you some truth in the accusation, cooperate with His correction. If it’s untrue, then ask the Lord to help you let the offense go. Cast your care upon Him and wait patiently for God to vindicate you. God will act on our behalf in His perfect time, whether in this life or the next.
Oh, and that stone that was meant to hurt you? Allow it to become a stone of remembrance. Let it be a living memory of a time when you chose to trust the Lord.