ODJ: paying pain forward

October 18, 2014 

READ: 1 Samuel 14:1-45 

My father has made trouble for us all! (v.29).

Pay it forward entails the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it by doing something kind for another person—not the original benefactor. In our fallen world, however, we sometimes ‘pay forward’ pain by hurting someone in response to offences committed against us—perhaps in the past—by a different person.

But Jonathan in 1 Samuel shows us that a person can choose to treat people well even if they’ve endured past hurts. Jonathan’s own father committed many wrongs against him. Firstly, his dad—King Saul—was often too preoccupied to give much thought to his son. At one point it appears that he didn’t even notice that his son had slipped out of a camp and ventured into enemy territory (1 Samuel 14:2-4).

On another occasion Jonathan had to plead with his father to spare his life instead of killing him for tasting a little honey. “Does that deserve death?” Jonathan asked his dad (v.43).

“Yes, Jonathan,” Saul said, “you must die! May God strike me and even kill me if you do not die for this” (v.44). Despite Jonathan’s legitimate question, Saul intended to put his son to death and only relented when the soldiers protested (v.45).

Yet even when King Saul set out to kill Jonathan’s best friend David, Jonathan didn’t pay his father’s sins forward. Unlike his father, Jonathan chose to believe “nothing can hinder the LORD” as he trusted in God (v.6).

Jonathan’s trust in God led him to courageously head into enemy territory to help his people overcome them. Like Jonathan, you and I can move past our pain and trust the Lord as we do His will. Paying pain forward inflicts harm on others. Instead, let’s trust in God as we seek to help them. —Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan› Acts 8:1-25

Read Matthew 18:21-35 and consider how forgiveness can help you to not pay forward sins done against you. 
Is there someone you need to pay back with a blessing instead of an insult? Why is it so destructive to hang on to past pain?