Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” (2 Samuel 16:9)
When David was confronted by the curses of Shimei he had a couple of choices. One option was to have his mighty warriors destroy Shimei right there on the spot. Another option was to listen to Shimei’s words and to take heed. Certainly, the people on David’s side were hoping that he would give them permission to annihilate the little pipsqueak who was making derogatory remarks about the king.
David, however, realized that God uses people – great and small – to carry His messages of truth.
Who was David to judge whether Shimei was simply a messenger from the Lord, fulfilling the role that God had given him?
It’s so easy to want to close the mouths of our detractors, but the truth is that sometimes they are not simply thorns in our flesh but carriers of truth. We need to prayerfully consider what they are saying, and then we need to decide what to do with it. Many times these people have ill motives and do not carry important messages, but wouldn’t it be tragic if we missed what God wanted to tell us simply because we quit listening to those who disagree with us?
The next time someone confronts you with words that are less-than-encouraging, take those words before the Lord. Give Him an opportunity to speak truth to you. And if the Lord reveals that the words are of little validity, then extend grace to the person because you have certainly said things that you wish you could retract, too.
Lord, keep me from being so arrogant that I dismiss challenging words to me simply because of the source from which they originate. Help me, with humility, to prayerfully bring criticisms that others have of me to You. In Your kindness, use those words to mold me into the person You want me to be.