The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
“There is nothing wrong with me; it’s the rest of the world that is mad.”
Or more commonly we look at our colleauges or family and know immediately what is wrong with them and how they have caused the current problems.
It seems to be so deeply ingrained in the psyche of you and me – fallen men and women – that not to do it is sooo hard. We see the problem in others, and believe ourselves to being doing just fine.
So, if I’m honest, I struggle with some of Psalm 109. David seems to be taking this to a serious level:
1 My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, 2 for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. 3 With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. 4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. 5 They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
Now don’t get me wrong, David was genuinely attacked during his life, and at times by those close to him (you can read about it in 1 & 2Samuel). So he did have things to complain about. But there appears to be no self-reflection here at all – no seeking to find out what was wrong with him, and had he contributed to the problems with those around him. In fact, he ups the ante and asks God to punish his foes, and make them and their families suffer.
8 May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. 9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. 10 May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. 11 May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labour. 12 May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
So what do we do with this psalm? It’s a tough one. I’ve never heard a version of it sung in a church service.
The first thing is to acknowledge that in many ways we are just like David. We think that we are in the right, and it’s others that are in the wrong. This psalm is how we feel towards others – especially when we believe that we have been wronged or betrayed. It’s OK to talk to God about this stuff. David did – so can you.
But, and it’s a big but, we need to read the psalm through the lense of Jesus.
Jesus who told us to take the log out of our own eye before we try to take the speck out of someone else’s.
Jesus who told us not to seek revenge, but to leave justice to God
Jesus who told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Let’s allow God to be changing our hearts so that our response to those who may oppose us is more like Jesus and less like David.
Then we can pray the final words of this psalm:
With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng of worshippers I will praise him. 31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save their lives from those who would condemn them.