RESPONSES.. We respond to many things every day.
Your child comes home with a 70% on a test. You know they tried super hard. It’s not an “A” but, you have the choice to celebrate their hard work or come down on them.
You walk into work confident you nailed your interview but the job promotion goes to someone else.
You have a bad meal at a restaurant. You can trash them on yelp or just move on… Response…
Christmas vacation is OVER. You head back to school and one of your FAVORITE class clown students is interrupting class again… Response…
Your wife or husband came home from work. Late. Again…. Response…
What happens to us, and the way other people treat us, is out of our control, but what we are in control of is how we respond. We have the ability to choose what track we want to be on. YAY FOR THE CONTROL FREAKS! The only thing is, sometimes it feels good to give the short-sighted response instead of the long-sighted response.
Recently, I read these two portions of scripture from the Bible and I love the parallel that it brings: the response of Judas and the response of Nathan and Bathsheba. Now bear with me because there is so much truth tucked away in how these people handled situations of conflict.
When Jesus was at Simon’s house with his disciples, a woman came in and gave one of the most expensive gifts she would ever own to Jesus. It was a pricey alabaster jar of perfume. She realized all that Jesus had done for her and in return, she gave the best gift she had. Jesus, being kind and understanding, welcomed the gift because of the significance it held. The others in the room were not so understanding and became indignant saying, “why would she do this?” and “we could have sold this and given it to the poor.” Basically, they thought she was an idiot and actually scolded her!
Jesus responded against their actions and told them to stop rebuking her and that what she did was an act of honor. They were missing the point completely and Jesus let them know it.
Right after, scripture says, “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the 12, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.”
I always focused on Judas doing his dirty deed but never put together that he made that decision based off of this interaction. It was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. You know what I mean? Now, I don’t know if he had compounded feelings, but I feel like I can rightfully assume that Judas, the one who took care of the disciples finances, had an opinion that night and it was on the wrong side.
Further evidence that Judas’ decision was reactive? Later in the story he tries to give the money he received from betraying Jesus BACK to the chief priests! He knew it was the wrong decision and he was full of guilt. So full of guilt, later, he commits suicide.
Jesus got under his skin. Maybe he was offended? Maybe he became too proud for his own good? Regardless, Judas didn’t think long-term. He knee-jerked, thought short, and betrayed his friend.
Nathan & Bathsheba
Ok. Abbreviated version. In the earlier years of King David’s life, he made a promise that his son, Solomon, would be next in line to assume the title of king. Now, David is dying and confined to his bed. His oldest living son, Adonijah, takes matters into his own hands and makes moves for himself to be king. After all, he is good-looking, charismatic, of royal blood, and cooler than Prince Harry. The wheels are in motion as he conspires to get a crowd on his side. He throws a big party behind his dad’s back and invites important people and officials. Oh, and sends an invitation out to all of his brothers EXCEPT for Solomon. HA! Talk about being left out from family dinner.
Nathan, trusted prophet to David, gets wind and immediately speaks with Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. Nathan is bent out of shape. He wasn’t invited to the shindig, he’s besties with David, and he knows Adonaijah is in the wrong, big time. I’m sure Bathsheba was ticked too! Adonijah was attempting to steal the kingdom right from under her son. Talk about family drama.
So they stormed into the king’s bedroom at the same time and bombarded him with their requests, insults, and blame! They also ate all of his chicken soup!
Kidding. That’s not how the story goes, BUT, they could have done that, right (minus the chicken soup)? It would have been stupid but they had a choice. Psh, maybe they could’ve hired someone just to take Adonaji out. Mafia style. Have him swimming with the fishes in the Jordan River.
No. What Nathan and Bathsheba did do was talk things out together. They were angry but did not reposed rashly or use their offense as a weapon. They used their smarts and gathered their thoughts. They planned what they were going to say and when and how they were going to say it. They processed through their response and in the end, it worked out in their favor.
You can read the story in 1 Kings 1 but a few bonuses we can pick up from Bathsheba and Nathan:
- Bathsheba and Nathan did “stop, drop and roll” figuratively. They stopped, found the right way to respond and put it into action.
- Bathsheba and Nathan were respectful. Any time you want to respond in a way that will disrespect or belittle someone else, don’t. It’s not right or effective. They weren’t focused on getting their own way or unleashing fury. When they walked into King David’s room, they knew their place and knew how to give honor first.
- Bathsheba and Nathan brought truth. It was based off of the facts- what King David promised them in the past. I think they were able to respond the right way because their argument wasn’t based off of lies but off of truth. Each of their stories confirmed one another.
- Bathsheba and Nathan gave the benefit of the doubt. They didn’t spew blanket statements that they would want to take back. They asked questions instead of assuming and tossing blame.
Thus, the tale of two very different responses from people who had their feathers ruffled. Thankfully you are not betraying people to death or having someone steal your kingdom from you! I’m sure you have your own junk to face though. We all do. Next time you are about to respond, think twice!