“Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine,that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward.” (1 Sam 18:6-9)
What an interesting study of human behavior this little section of scripture is. See, you would think that because David was so highly regarded by the people, it would be a good thing for the Kingdom. For Saul to have a person on staff that was doing a great job and that the people were totally excited about, it should have been a reflection of Saul’s wisdom in promoting David. But because Saul was self-absorbed, he saw David’s popularity as a threat to his leadership, even his position as king.
From this point forward, Saul’s mind is filled with suspicion towards David. He’ll begin to hear most everything David says with suspicious ears. He’ll look at most all David’s actions with suspicious eyes. His thoughts about David will be twisted by suspicion. In Saul we see the exact opposite of what God calls us to:
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
(1 Cor 13:4-7)
In other words, as God’s people we are called to believe the best about people. I have found this principle to be life-changing in every relationship in my life. When someone does or says something that I don’t like I can do one of two things:
I can assume the worst: That they don’t like me, that they are trying to hurt me, that they have an agenda against me.
Or, I can assume the best: Perhaps I misunderstood them, perhaps what they said didn’t come out the way they meant it, or perhaps they were just having a bad day!
See, when I believe the worst about a person or a situation, I start taking everything they say or do personally. I start wondering what else they may have said about me. Before too long, I have convicted and condemned that person in my mind. And of course, once I’ve convicted them of the crime, the next logical step is the punishment. My thoughts can very easily lead to negative actions against them.
But if I am willing to be obedient to God’s word, and believe the best about that person, the complete opposite happens. I don’t worry about what else they might be saying, or what they really think about me. I don’t take what they say or do personally. I give grace. My thoughts still lead to actions, but they are positive actions!
So next time someone says or does something that upsets you, consider 1 Cor 13, and ask the God to help you believe the best about that person!