August 23: Admonish and Own

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-39

There is a dimension of the providential relationships that God wants to build into our lives that is less comfortable.  Those relationships, you see, are not always marked by rainbow words of hope and encouragement.  The conversations cannot only be punctuated with encouraging statements like “I’m sorry to hear that!” and “Wow!  That must have been difficult!” and “I am praying for you!” No, sometimes difficult things must be spoken.  Occasionally, words of admonition and correction must be heard.

But both the speaking and the hearing of those words require sensitivity.

Nathan sensitively introduced the subject with a story that caught David’s attention and emotion before he said, “you are the man” (v. 7).  Nathan did not remain silent and just let David’s sin go unnoticed.  We do not serve others best when we just look the other way.  Or, at the other extreme, we can blast others out of the water if we jump down their throat with voluminous, finger pointing accusations.  No, we must sensitively speak the truth and do so in love (Eph. 4:15).

Meanwhile, David’s response required a sensitivity as well.  He readily owned his transgression by saying, “I have sinned against the Lord” (v. 13).  Our natural inclination is not to take correction well.  We may respond by defending our actions, somehow justifying them.  Or, in some instances, we respond by attacking our accuser.  “Who are they to say that to me?  They are not perfect!”  But, instead, we must sensitively receive the admonition, honestly evaluate its accuracy, and humbly own our failure.

Neither end of the conversation is easy to be on.  Both require that we are sensitive to each other, to the situation, and, ultimately, to the Spirit of God!  Having the kinds of providential relationships in our lives where someone loves us enough to sensitively correct is important.  Having the kind of relationships where we can be a voice of correction is key.