November 27, 2021


2 Samuel 8:15-9:13

“Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”

—  2 Samuel 9:3

Social psychologist Nour Kteily has said, “Many people strip each other of humanity with a shocking lack of self-awareness. . . . Dehumanization silences empathy” (Jamil Zaki, The War for Kindness).

David could have destroyed all of Saul’s family after becoming the king over Israel. But he didn’t.

It’s remarkable that David chose to act with grace instead of malice. As he tried to do “what was just and right for all his people,” David honored his friendship with Jonathan and showed mercy to the house of Saul.

Through a servant of Saul’s household, David learned that Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan, had survived and that he was lame in both feet.

Showing kindness to Mephibo­sheth must have turned some heads among David’s subjects. People were likely shocked when David restored all of Saul’s land to Mephibosheth and invited him to eat at the king’s table.

In this way David went beyond the boundaries of friendship with Jonathan’s son. Despite his disability and his tarnished pedigree, Mephibosheth was included “as one of the king’s sons.” David showed kindness that went beyond tolerance. David knew what dehumanization had done to him, and he aimed to live God’s way instead.

Lord, prompt me to show kindness to everyone and to do what is right in all my relationships. Remind me of my own need for your grace, and help me show your love to others. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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