Friday, March 28, 2014

2 Samuel 19:5-7: Forgiveness and Unconditional Love

Reading 2 Samuel 19 reminds us of the unconditional love and mercy that Jesus offers us.  King David, after learning of Absalom’s death, mourns for his son. The voice of Joab, however, reflects the voice of the world -- why forgive your enemy when you can hate them? Our task is to reject this voice, as David does, and instead become conduits for God’s love and mercy toward others.

“‘My son Absalom! Absalom! My son, my son!’ So Joab went to the king’s residence and said: “Though they saved your life and your sons’ and daughters’ lives, and the lives of your wives and your concubines, you have put all your servants to shame today by loving those who hate you…” 
2 Samuel 19: 5b-7a

As an accusation, Joab points out David's unconditional love for his wayward son, Absalom. We are called to embrace this level of forgiveness and love, for Jesus teaches us to “love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us” ( Matthew 5:44). David is forced out of Jerusalem and greatly wronged by Absalom, but David still loves and forgives him, not holding Absalom's sin against him. David is even ridiculed by Joab and warned that all of David’s people will abandon him due to the love and forgiveness he extends to Absalom. 
This is the level of forgiveness we see in Jesus, when during his Passion, he forgave those who scourged, mocked, ridiculed, and pinioned Him to the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." We are called to imitate Christ, to whom David is a type, emulating our Lord's unfathomable mercy toward others.

Loving God,
... Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.