ODJ: the opposite spirit

June 29, 2014 

READ: 2 Samuel 9:1-13 

The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them” (v.3).

A few years ago I worked as a supply teacher in Birmingham, England. I initially embraced the help of the teaching assistant, but when she started taking over in class I was tempted to give in to resentment and insecurity. Instead, I decided to act in a way opposite to what I felt by vocalising my genuine appreciation of her, praying for her and challenging her in love. When it came time for me to leave my position, she gave me a gift and a thank you card. Acting in the opposite spirit had disarmed a teaching assistant who might have felt threatened and unappreciated.

David acted in the opposite spirit towards King Saul who was intent on killing him (1 Samuel 18:10-11, 19:1,9-11). He spared Saul’s life on two occasions (24:4, 26:8), and even after his death, David (who was now king) deliberately looked for anyone from Saul’s family to whom he could show kindness (2 Samuel 9:1). A servant found Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth for the king. The man was crippled in both feet due to an accident that occurred when he was a child (4:4). David promised to take care of him and his family for the rest of his days (9:10).

The Lord loves and rewards us when we reach out with kindness to others who have mistreated us (Proverbs 25:21-22). David is described as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), and his determination to consistently honour his enemy and the Lord’s anointed (King Saul) gives us a glimpse into the kind of heart God loves.

Just as the kindness of the Lord has helped us turn away from a life of sin (Romans 2:4), our kindness towards those who have wronged us may help turn them to God. —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
Matthew 5:17-30 ‹365-day plan

Read Romans 12:17-21 and consider what it says about conquering evil with good. 
Who has been unkind to you or treated you poorly? Choose to act in the opposite spirit towards them—loving them and intentionally showing kindness.