“For I, your servant, know that I have sinned.”– 2 Samuel 19:20
Jesus told the disciples, “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4). It is not for us to judge another’s sincerity when they ask for forgiveness. We are simply commanded to forgive. This is what it means to be Christlike. And when Shimei came running to David after a Civil war in Israel, he asked the king to forgive his actions of rebellion. David forgave him.
Likely, Shimei was not genuine in his repentance. As time went on, the Bible shows us that Shimei continued in his arrogance and was eventually arrested and executed (1 Kings 2:36-46). However, David did not hold Shimei’s former sins against him. When David was at a low place in his life, exhausted and discouraged, Shimei “kicked him while he was down” by cursing and throwing stones at David. He did not retaliate.
Why would this brave warrior allow himself to be humiliated in front of his men and an entire nation? Could it be that when he was forgiven by God for his adultery and murder that he had been humbled? At this point in his life, David admitted he would receive anything that came his way as by the hand of God. David said, “let Him do to me as seems good to Him” (2 Samuel 15:26). In his humiliation, David now had a heart of submission to God. After all, if the Lord had forgiven him of such grievous sins, why should he retaliate against stones and dirt being hurled at him? David must have known that God would take care of the situation eventually. As God says, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35). It is always best to leave vengeance in the hands of the Maker. Ours is only to forgive. And when we remember what we ourselves have been forgiven for, submission to God’s mission becomes bearable for an otherwise resistant heart.
“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”– Proverbs 19:11