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Thorns in Your Side

They were an odd couple. He was harsh but she was kind. He was unreasonable, but she was sensible. He was selfish, but she was considerate. He was a wealthy fool, but she was a beautiful woman with good understanding. We do not know how they met, but we do know that she married him and stayed with him in spite of his evil ways.

“Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings” (I Sam. 25:3).

After David protected Nabal’s servants and sheep for days, he sent messengers to ask Nabal to return the favor by helping them with supplies. Nabal refused and scolded David’s men. When he heard what Nabal said, David armed his men and planned to destroy this rich man’s house. However, some of Nabal’s men told Abigail what her husband did, adding that “he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him” (I Sam. 25:17). Abigail immediately intervened. She took food to David and his men and made peace. If she had not acted, her husband and others would have been killed.

There is an encouraging lesson in this story for anyone who has to deal with an unreasonable person on a regular basis. This unjust and unreasonable individual may be someone at work, at school, in the family or even in a congregation. Why does a person act like this? Why do we have to endure this stress and frustration? Dealing with such people is one of the hardships of life, and it often seems that these thorns in life do nothing but cause grief for others.

Why can we never reach a place in life where we no longer have to deal with such people? What good do they contribute? Let us remember what the Bible teaches about trials: they make us better (James 1:2-3).

A bad man can bring out the best in a good man. Put a harsh person in the path of a good Christian, and he will resolve to be kinder himself and to be more appreciative of kind people. Let an unreasonable person harass a wise man, and he will determine to be even more just and sensible. Let a proud man boast in front of a good man, and this will only remind him to be more humble. The more Nabal showed his meanness, the more Abigail displayed her charity. Sometimes virtues that we want most as Christians—patience, mercy, humility, and wisdom—grow the best when we are around people who irritate us the most.

Kerry

West End church of Christ bulletin article for July 24, 2022

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