READ: 2 Samuel 1-2
After all the evil that Saul had done; after God had removed his anointing from him (1 Sam 16:14); after all the attempts by Saul to kill David, God’s new anointed king — David still refuses to attack Saul, even with his words after Saul has died. Reading David’s lament (1:19-27) one is impressed by the kind words of David for Saul and Jonathan. We expect them fro Jonathan, but not for Saul.
We have a saying, “Don’t speak ill of the dead.” That’s not what’s happening in this story. David is genuinely remembering the good things Saul did in his life. He is choosing to emphasize those memories among the people, especially the people of Judah (1:18) who had chosen to align themselves with David. These were the people who would be most likely to denigrate Saul.
There is a lesson in kindness here for us. If God has used someone for good in their lives, no matter what they do badly, without excusing those things, we should kindly remember and speak well of them for the good they did. All of us are perhaps tempted at times to look on the “mighty who have fallen” and drag them down a notch or two in the minds of others. But let’s not be the ones to tear down with our words. Let’s be the ones who take the high road like David and speak kindly in the midst of the terrible fall.
Prayer: Father, help us to remember that “there, but for your grace, go I.” Help us to be gracious in our thoughts and words toward the fall of mighty ones whom you have evidently used at times in their lives. Help us not to glory in the fall of another. Help us to humble ourselves before you and know that you are the one who builds up and tears down.