Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Graciousness”
Our Bible verse for today: “Nathan replied to David, ‘You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12:7 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “It’s all in how you say it.”
Our graciousness, or lack of it, is usually conveyed by our words. Words are powerful and they are our primary means of communication, so the content and tone of our words will determine whether or not they are perceived as being gracious or not.
But what do we do when we have a difficult word of truth that must be spoken to someone and there is the danger of it not being well received? One possible approach was modeled for us by the Old Testament prophet Nathan. He had to confront King David regarding his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah.
The entire story can be found in 2 Samuel chapters 11-12 but the gist of it is that David seduced Bathsheba, who was married to Uriah, and he got her pregnant. David then ordered the murder of Uriah and he married Bathsheba himself. In chapter 12 we read that God directed Nathan to confront David with his sin and announce the punishment that God was going to inflict on him.
Well how do you deliver a message like that to a king? David was known for his temper and he could easily have ordered Nathan arrested and executed. So instead of marching right in and delivering the message like he was swinging a sledgehammer, Nathan got creative. He told David a made-up story about a rich man who had huge herds and flocks of his own, and a neighboring poor man who had only one little lamb which he kept as a pet and treated as a member of the family.
One day the rich man received an unexpected visitor and needed to quickly prepare a meal for him. Not wanting to slaughter one of his own sheep, he had a servant burst into the poor man’s house, take his little lamb, slaughter it, and serve it to his guest. When King David heard this (thinking it was a true story) he exploded in rage and ordered the rich man to be punished. Nathan then told the king that it was not a real story. Instead it was an illustration of what he (David) had done to Uriah and therefore God was now going to bring upon David the punishment that David himself had just said the rich man in the story deserved.
My point here is that Nathan delivered the tough message, but he did it in a creative way. Rather than simply marching in and delivering it with a sledgehammer, he was thoughtful and creative about it and as a result, his words had the necessary impact.
Sometimes being gracious requires us to be creative rather than direct. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.