(October 25, 2014)
One of the great tragedies for me, as I read Psalms, is that I can see the fall of David coming. David is so dedicated to the Lord, so faithful, and so willing to give praise and love to the Lord. But the undercurrent beneath that is David’s pride – he wants his enemies destroyed. This is common to much of the time period (I don’t want to say I am judging him by a modern standard), but that same conflict between the righteous man of God and the king who takes what (and who) he wants in lingering there just beneath the surface. It worries me, of course, out of fear of what is lurking below my surface that I don’t see. This self-blindness is one thing that makes it vitally important that we do everything we can in the good times to build up sufficient strength to withstand our temptations in the bad times.
The other thought I had as I read today was the wonderful language about speaking peace to our neighbors with mischief in our hearts. I have been the victim of this quite a bit (including recently), but it is important that I not be an instigator. One thing that I think I am learning is how important it is to give honest praise and compliments to others – to build others up rather than tear them down. Tearing people down isn’t something that I ever thought I was doing, but my criticism of others, I have learned, is not helpful and often harmful. But while I am trying to work on praising others it is important that I mean what I say. Flattery differs from praise, I believe, based upon this standard – praise is honest while flattery comes with mischief in our hearts. I find myself better able to praise others lately, but I don’t want to deviate into flattery at any point – I want to praise people when they are praiseworthy (and everyone is) rather than because I want or need something from them.