Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
A national leader, buffeted by war and assassination attempts against his life, once wrote poetry and songs as a means of dealing with his emotions. He was a war hero who struggled with depression. Responsibility for his country weighed heavy on his mind while he prayed.
He was a king who did not come from royal blood. His family broke apart in explosive and tragic ways. First, his father-in-law, king before him, hunted him down for years out of jealous rage. HIs first wife mocked him and left. He lost three sons, one to stillbirth and the others murdered.
Two of his sons tried to overthrow their father’s kingdom. Another son raped his own sister. It is no exaggeration calling this preeminent family majorly dysfunctional.
Here is a clue to the trouble. About the second son who tried to overthrow the king, it is written, “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, ‘Why are you doing that?’ “
Yes, it was David, King of Israel in roughly 970 to 930 BC, who reigned well in public and terribly at home.
King David’s grief and plea for mercy
Some of his songs are filled with grief over his crime and failures. For example, one follows his adultery and murder of his lover’s innocent husband.*
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love…
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night…
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me…
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves…
Sometimes it is easy to sit back in our armchairs or at our computer screens judging leaders who seem to have two faces. King David was flawed, yet he never stopped seeking God. I know religious people who have miserably failed at parenting, marriage, or leadership. I am divorced, and certainly imperfect, yet my heart is after God.
How God views our personal failings
God does not look at us like we see each other. I see positive and negative behaviors in myself, family members, friends, strangers, and national leaders. He sees our hearts. When our desire is for God, he knows it.
That is why we can laugh. No, what happened to David’s family is not funny. Harm brought to any of us through family dysfunction is not amusing. National and global crises are no joke. Tragedy is not fodder for entertainment.
Laughter can come from a place of peace when we know the ultimate judge (Jesus) sees us as forgivable. He does not enable or endorse our sins, however will respond to sincere hearts who break over them. We have a chance (not a loophole making sin ok), for the repurchase of our soul that we sold to the highest bidder.
Laughter follows mourning
King David’s song continues:
…then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness…
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God…
Our country needs to laugh. Here’s the thing – we need to mourn first. Charlottesville, human trafficking, racism, sexism, stigmas, hate toward anyone who is different or who does not agree with our pet ideas, national infighting, infidelity in marriage, abuse in the home, and so much more, are national and personal sins for which we need to repent.
It is clear we fail each other and God. Fallout from our poor and unkind decisions can be great. Painful consequences will occur. Even at our best we fall short of perfect love, absolute unselfishness, and wisdom.
Let us allow difficulty to bring us to our knees in prayer. God will answer us. King David was not always a great man, and his family and nation suffered. In the end, he consistently pursued God. HIs life is an example of divine mercy and answered prayer. His honest and revealing songs and poems became part of one of the most read and quoted books in history, the Book of Psalms.
Each of us can choose, regardless of pain and worry, to surrender to Jesus Christ, and laugh with joy in his love.
Today’s Helpful Word
“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
**********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
*earth pic by NAZRETH on rgbstock.com; crowd from kozzi.com
Thank you, Ms. Virden. You are hitting the nail on the head and calling for exactly the compassion and love that Jesus calls us to.
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