2 Samuel 13:11–39, Ephesians 4:13–19
Parenting is hard. Parents struggle with their own failures personally and with their children. For the deeply afflicted parent (and child), parenting is not just brutal, but it is unending pain. For a normal parent, having children is a blessing and one of the hardest jobs ever (there is a harder one, but that is for another time).
David—the so-called man after God’s own heart—was actually a pretty bad father at times, maybe even a lot of the times. This story is actually heartbreaking. Quite heartbreaking. Disgusting, nauseating, and so on. It is also another example that the Scriptures don’t hide the brutal failure of humanity to live up to its potential.
What was David thinking to just things remain? Why did he do nothing? Doing nothing may have been David’s greatest fault. Maybe. That his children, less Solomon, had gotten to the states they were in says much about the guidance he provided to the next generation. If there had been one “bad apple”, perhaps there wouldn’t such a disastrous family tale. On the other hand, we cannot pin the sins of the sons on the father. They chose their path.
It is hard as a parent to not blame oneself for the resulting lives of one’s children. Parents may try to harden their hearts as their children make life-altering decisions, but the hardened heart is only on the outside as their hearts ache on the inside. It’s not that David’s heart didn’t ache. As we look at his story, how would we have behaved?
Would Paul’s “speaking the truth in love” made a difference here? How about building each other up? Unity? Promoting the growth for building up in love? These are all questions that the church—you—needs to wrestle with. The reality is that the world is full of broken people. Lots of them. In fact, there are probably a few such broken people in our framily. There might be some in your family. You might be broken. It’s not whether you know, meet, interact with people who are broken…it’s how many.
1) Brokenness equals hurt. We are all hurting. Thinking about Paul, what can we do help our fellow broken human beings?
2) We evaluate people and their stories by our story. How can that help us help them? How can it keep us from helping them?
3) Paul’s words about building up are especially true when talking about our hurts and the hurts of others. What do Paul’s words teach about walking with others in the midst of their (and our) brokenness?