The Knotted Tangle of Discord

“All the people were arguing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and saved us from the Philistines, and now he has fled out of the land from Absalom. But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?..’

They sent word to the king, ‘Return, both you and your servants.’ So the king came back to the Jordan, and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring the king over the Jordan... Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said, ‘Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?’ All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, ‘Because the king is our close relative. Why then are you angry over this matter?.. Has he given us any gift?’ And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, ‘We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?’ But the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.” 2 Samuel 19:9-10,14-15,41-43

“The Lord hates… haughty eyes,.. a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” Romans 16:17

It all started when one of his sons raped a half-sister, one of his daughters, and he did nothing. That inaction may have stemmed from having child favorites and multiple wives, or from his own guilt from sexual sin, and he was disinclined to reprimand another. Dissension fomented among siblings, heat grew in silence, and misunderstanding flamed disloyalties; David was banished and his disruptive son killed. The poison of family disunity spread into the kingdom, with strife manifesting in disagreement and argument among its leaders and people. (2 Samuel 11:2-17; 15:1-31; Psalm 51:3-5)

Sin’s rope takes us captive and keeps us knotted, twisting tendencies into a tangle of discord in our souls, and in relationships. The issues that enflamed Israel are issues that stoke ire and conflict today: disagreements, prejudice, greed, unfairness, and who is our rightful leader.

What are we, as Christians, to do? How can we infuse calm and love into the fray, kindness into the vitriol? What will we do to help untangle the messes that mean words, hasty conclusions, and guilt’s paralysis cause? What rights might we yield to assuage the frenzy of fierce?

First, we must check our own motives and actions. Guarding against insincerity and sin ourselves, we must proclaim salvation, untangle truth, and restore in the Lord what has been broken. God uses willing emissaries as His agents of reconciliation. (Matthew 7:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:14-20; Galatians 6:1)

Lord, embolden me as Your ambassador not to sin, or sow discord, but only love. May I contribute to the peace only You can give in this world. (John 14:27)

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