“So, we want to celebrate Dr. Smith’s 60th birthday and we thought it would be a great idea if you take us all out to dinner!”
I was stunned by the offer. “Uh sure. Where were you thinking of going?”
“I was thinking of that new restaurant close to our office. They specialize in wine pairings. I’ll email the address to you.”
Yes. Great. This practice manager of one of my dermatology clients generously volunteered me to pay for an expensive dinner for the six of us. Under any other circumstance, I would have been delighted to take my colleague out for dinner to celebrate her 60th birthday. However, it was the manner in which it was presented to me. While I was close to this dermatologist colleague, I did not share the same level of comfort with the practice manager, nor did I know her husband. The dinner was a delightful event but it left me with a bad taste since this practice manager was seeking to ingratiate herself with the dermatologist and get a free dinner for her and her husband.
Thousands of years ago, the Bible described a similar incident when someone attempted to ingratiate himself with others. Absalom was the favorite son of King David. However, due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, he was estranged from his father. Determined to usurp his father’s role, Absalom concocted a plan.
He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!”
2 Samuel 15:2-4 (NLT)
What was the result? After four years, Absalom won the hearts of the people and turned them against his father, King David. He then launched a coup and for a brief period, seized the throne, forcing his father to flee.
Perhaps none of us have found ourselves in a similar situation as King David but I am sure many of us have found ourselves in a situation when we were used by someone seeking to ingratiate themselves with others, at our expense. Do we defend ourselves and call out their actions? Do we remain bitter? Do we take revenge? Pastor and Bible teacher Tim Keller wrote, “Worry is not believing God will get it right, and bitterness is believing God got it wrong.”
In this world, we will frequently encounter people with motives that do not match our own. Although King David loved his son, Absalom, he was betrayed by him. We need to focus upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Only in Him will we find the perfect relationship, unblemished by sin. Only in Him will we find a relationship built upon pure love, grace, and mercy.
For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.