The cruel irony of living “the life” and “walking the walk” amid injustice and unfairness, cruelty and violence is that one is tempted all too often to just flip, break down, pull out. Yet, the wisdom of God’s word reveals there are ways to escape the escalation of evil.
A scriptural case study indicates that one of the Bible’s all-time heroes, David, found himself in just such a situation. Israel’s King Saul’s personal and spiritual failures led him to be overcome by evil thoughts of violence and destruction, all hatefully directed at the young David. David, the amiable shepherd, poet and musician-turned-mighty war hero, felt compelled to avoid the inevitable violent confrontation with the Lord’s “anointed” and had to hide out for years. One day Saul walked right into the cave in which David was hiding! Ever so ninja-like, David sliced off a corner of the king’s royal robe while he and his mighty men slept. After Saul woke up and left, David called after the group, waving his royal remnant.
“You’re better than me,” Saul said,
“for thou has rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.” 1 Samuel 24:17
That wasn’t David’s only such trial. One day, he happened upon the land and vineyards of Nabal. Ugly and unusually inhospitable for that time and region, Nabal refused to help the refugee, even though that refugee protected both Nabal’s men and his property when they were out in the fields. David immediately snapped, ordered 400 men to saddle and suit up. He had had enough, but in came Nabal’s wife Abigail who reminded David that he was God’s man, “bound in the bundle of life.” David simply could not allow Nabal’s foolishness to mar his destiny.
“Do not become so angry and upset that you, too, want to do evil,” the Word challenges. (Psalm 37:8)
As evil abounds today, our trigger fingers are also itchy. Our doors and borders must close. Our money needs to stay at home. Our patience has worn thin. We have to show our might. We have to be ready to take each other out. Yet, amid this temptation, we who are bundled in the life of the Spirit find creative and effectual escape.
Last year Dunni Oduyemi, a Columbia University student helped staged an “intervention” with the prestigious institution’s president and ultimately persuaded the Board of Trustees to divest in private prison corporations because of racially disproportionate incarceration rates. Last year, in the state that saw the shooting death of yet another unarmed black man, 20 year-old Jewell Jones, like the young shepherd David, stepped up to win a city council seat in Inkster, Michigan. Bree Newsome, a 30 year-old activist outfitted in climbing gear climbed a flag pole in front of the South Carolina Capitol to remove the Confederate “stars and bars,” 150 years after those who rallied under it lost the civil war. Finally, it was the humble but well-timed, hunger strike of a well-off college student by the name of Jonathan Butler that brought the University of Missouri to its knees. His faith in God propelled His protest against campus racism.
As we move forward “bundled” with the Spirit, may we find His power to fight effectually and creatively.