What Would You Do With Your Enemy?

As I write this I am writing to myself. I am a person struggling to show mercy towards two people I've long held hurt towards. I'm not proud of it, and I wish more than anything in world it wasn't true, but it is.  I've tried to forgive and move past the hurt and betrayal I've experienced over the last three decades, but it's hard when the transgressions continue without any apology. David taught me something new about that today.

In chapters 24 & 25 in 1 Samuel, we see two relatively similar scenes take place. David is hiding from Saul, who is trying to kill him. David has the opportunity, both times, to kill Saul but he doesn't. Instead, he takes something close to Saul without Saul knowing, then when Saul is far from him, David announces to Saul what has just happened. 

Essentially, David has the opportunity to kill Saul but when he cuts the robe belonging to Saul, he feels guilty and realizes that's not what God would have him do. If God wants to remove Saul from the throne, he doesn't need David to do it. So both times David shows mercy to Saul and let's him free with his life.

Both times David reveals to Saul what he could have one, but didn't. From that, Saul recognizes his failure to do what is right and apologizes to David, proceeding to go home. Obviously it doesn't stick because Saul comes back around with vengeance, but reading this I couldn't help but see the softened heart that comes from mercy.

David showed mercy to Saul because he knew God was in control and the ultimate judge, and as a result, Saul's heart was softened (even if it was brief). 

If David can show mercy to a man bent on killing him, can't I...can't we? Regardless if they have asked for mercy, we must show it. And this can apply to unforgiveness or bitterness held within the heart towards someone who has hurt us.

Two things take place:

  • David shows mercy, without being asked anything or provided an apology

  • Saul in response looks upon David in a more favorable light

As a result, God is left to be the ultimate judge of who is right and who is wrong, and what their futures will hold.

Moving forward, David taught me to show mercy regardless of the other person's response or desire for it. David showed me that expressed mercy can change the dynamics of a situation and relationship. And that whatever happens, mercy is the appropriate response in a situation where God ultimately prevails. 

If their is unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment or anger towards someone, even if they hurt you deeply for no matter caused by you, let mercy be your guiding light to what's right.


  1. Are you struggling to forgive someone or find yourself in tension with another person? If so, who is it and how can you show them mercy?

  2. What is this passage saying about the kind of person God wants you to be towards others?