Absalom drew Israel and rose up against David. King David had to flee Jerusalem for his life. It looked as if Absalom would establish his own kingdom. Instead, he was killed as he pursued David, even though David had ordered that he remain untouched.
Absalom was, in fact, killed by his own bitterness and offense. The man with so much potential, heir to the throne, died in his prime because he refused to release the debt he thought his father owed. He ended up defiled.
Assistants to leaders in a church often become offended by the person they serve. They soon become critical—experts at all that is wrong with their leader or those he or she appoints. They become offended. Their sight is distorted. They see from a totally different perspective than God’s.
They believe their mission in life is to deliver those around them from as unfair leader. They win the hearts of disgruntled, discontent, and ignorant, and before they know it they end up splitting or dividing the church or ministry. Just like Absalom.
Sometimes their observations are correct. Perhaps David should have taken action against Amnon. Perhaps a leader has areas of error. Who is the judge—you or the Lord? Remember that if you sow strife, you will reap it.
What happen to Absalom and what happens in churches today is a process of time. We are often unaware that an offense has entered our hearts. The root of bitterness is barely noticeable as it develops. But as it is nursed it will grow and be strengthened. As the writer of Hebrews exhorts, we are to look “carefully…lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12:15).
I had to examine my heart and open myself to the correction of the Lord, for only His Word could discern the thoughts and intentions of my heart. The Holy Spirit comforted me as He spoke through my conscience —I thank God that there is no offence in my heart for my former pastor. I was faithful until the end.
I was troubled because I did not want to act as an Absalom—then the Holy Spirit reminded me the difference between Absalom and David. Absalom stole the hearts of others because he was offended with his leader. David encouraged others to stay loyal to Saul even though Saul was attacking him. Absalom took men with him; David left alone.
We should never be afraid to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal any un-forgiveness or bitterness. I was never offended—but, yes I was hurt by the attacks that came after I left and the man I was loyal to kept silent and in some cases invoked it. Thank God, I acted as a David—I left alone…never encouraging others to leave.
Thank God for his freedom—the longer you hide un-forgiveness, bitterness or even harbor hurt, the stronger it will become and the harder your heart will grow. Stay tenderhearted.
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