IN 2 SAMUEL 5-13, it was written: "As David was approaching Bahurim, a man named Shimei, the son of Gera of the same clan as Saul's family, was coming out of the place, cursing as he came. He threw stones at David and at all the king's officers, even though all the soldiers, including the royal guard, were on David's right and on his left.
Shimei was saying as he cursed: 'Away, away, you murderous and wicked man! The LORD has requited you for all the bloodshed in the family of Saul, in whose stead you became king, and the LORD has given over the kingdom to your son Absalom. And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer.'
Abishai, son of Zeruiah, said to the king: 'Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.'
But the king replied: 'What business is it of mine or of yours, sons of Zeruiah, that he curses? Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, "Why are you doing this?" '
Then the king said to Abishai and to all his servants: 'If my own son, who came forth from my loins, is seeking my life, how much more might this Benjaminite do so! Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. Perhaps the LORD will look upon my affliction and make it up to me with benefits for the curses he is uttering this day.'
David and his men continued on the road, while Shimei kept abreast of them on the hillside, all the while cursing and throwing stones and dirt as he went."
EVER HAD AN EXPERIENCE of "stirring up a hornets' nest" when you thought you were merely doing some people a favor? Had one recently over the past week.
Many strong emotions welled up in me, one leading to another -- surprise, shock, sadness, indignation, disgust, aversion. In the end, scolded someone in private for not defending me in public and decided there and then to distance myself from a professional group whom i had been serving for the past five or six years. This is probably not for the best. But in a sense, it is the culmination of past happenings, interpersonal dynamics and intrapersonal deliberations -- an increasing consciousness of a need to align my life with what God would want for me.
After 15 years or so of service in charitable and professional groups, i'm beginning to see that there is a critical difference between volunteers in these two groups -- most charity volunteers come forward to 'give' while most professional volunteers come forward to 'take' what they presumed are theirs.
i have no doubt about the justness of what i've done, how i've focussed on the issues at hand and not on the person (or offender). Took comfort from the Beattitudes passage in Matthew 5:11-12, where Jesus said:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
However, after cooling down, i wonder about the maturity of my reactions (not very Christian responses) to being misunderstood and falsely accused. i felt humbled again when seeking inspiration from the bible as well as more modern-day saints such as St Therese.
Yes, my faith and trust in God is still not strong enough. In the words of St Peter in 1 Peter 3: 14-17, "Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts."
And suddenly i began to see these lines in a new context, "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil."
Similarly, a certain passage in Counsels and Reminiscences began to make sense:
"A sister wrote: 'I told Sr. Therese one day, "If I must be reproached, I preferred deserving it to being unjustly accused."
"For my part," she replied. "I prefer to be charged unjustly because, having nothing to reproach myself with, I offer gladly this little injustice to God. Then, humbling myself, I think how easily I might have deserved the reproach. The more you advance, the fewer the combats; or, rather, the more easy the victory, because the good side of things will be more visible. Then your soul will soar above creatures. As for me, I feel utterly indifferent to all accusations because I have learned the hollowness of human judgment."
She added further: "When misunderstood and judged unfavorably, what benefit do we derive from defending ourselves? Leave things as they are, and say nothing. It is so sweet to allow ourselves to be judged anyhow, rightly or wrongly.
"It is not written in the Gospel that Saint Mary Magdalen put forth excuses when charged by her sister with sitting idle at Our Lord's Feet. She did not say: 'Martha, if you knew the happiness that is mine and if you heard the words that I hear, you too would leave everything to share my joy and my repose.' No, she preferred to keep silent. . .
"Blessed silence which giveth such peace to the soul!" '
Not sure though when the next 'test' comes along, whether i'll be able to put into practice what i've understood in theory. :-p
(See also The Problem Of Pain III.)