I have come to the place of not watching the news or listening to it on the radio. The reason being, they can’t seem to come up with any new news, only repeat the old. And most of the time, they are spreading gossip and informing us of rumors instead of real facts: things that are actually happening instead of their own tainted version. Their stories are souped up with half truths in order to increase their ratings.
People are drawn to gossip. Like flies to honey, it pulls people in. Half truths are the easiest way to draw people in order to gain an attentive ear. Then, as this sweet morsel of half honesty, half lie seeps into the inner places of their minds, it hardens and becomes solid information to be told and retold. A fact, born of a lie, is then used and reused to wound reputations and livelihoods.
All of this nonsense happens so someone can look like they are a source of information, have inside information, deserve retribution from wounds, or increase their ratings.
David, the king of the Old Testament was a man who understood being misunderstood. Half truths mixed with solid evidence put him in a position of making a decision about a man’s life as he fled from his son Absalom in order to prevent having his death on his conscience.
In 2 Samuel 16, David was fleeing from Absalom with his mighty men. He could have easily had his son executed but he was a father first and a king second. Therefore, he decided to let God decide who would rule between the two of them.
As David was traveling, a man from the house of Saul named Shimei came along beside him, and began to curse David, throwing stones and dirt at him and his men.
2 Samuel 16: 7 And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! 8 The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.”
This is where the half truth came in to play. David really was a man of blood. He had fought many wars and killed many men in order to establish the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The house of Saul truly was killed in order for David to become King. Later in 1 Chronicles 22 starting in verse 7 “David said to Solomon, “My son, I had intended to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. 8”But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before Me.”
This is where fact and fiction become muddy. How do we separate a fact from a half truth? Sometimes evidence is necessary. Sometimes faith in the person is necessary. David was a man of war, but he was under the instruction of the Lord as he went to war. He was doing what God created him to do. War is messy. People die who we truly wish to be dead and people die who we truly wish to live.
David truly wished for Saul and Jonathan to live. Even the man who brought him the news discovered much too late the depth of David’s honor for Saul, his father in law, and how much he loved Jonathan, his friend and brother in law. They were his family, lost to him forever. Even still, in the end, they both died in battle. Not David’s battle, but battle nonetheless. Therefore, it was easy for Shimei to blame David for their death. A half truth was born: David was a man of war; with a lie: David killed Saul’s house.
Let’s look at David’s reaction to this crazy, dirt-slinging man who is taking out his personal revenge on the man God chose for him to actually serve. When David’s captain wanted to kill him, David said to leave him alone. Why? David’s own words and reason is wise beyond human reason.
2 Samuel 16: 9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. 14 And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.
There it is, in verse 11. “Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.” Then in verse 12, “It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.”
After many years in ministry, 29 of them to date, there is a certain set of circumstances that I have noticed. People get angry with my husband or myself and begin to act like Shimei. They say half truths or outright lies. They talk to people in order to cause division or smear our reputation. They gossip and share in order to get people stirred up and “on their side”. The times we have reacted have always ended very badly for us. Defending ones self only makes a person look guilty, not innocent.
There has been times when the person who is angry was correct in what they say. We are not perfect after all, and we make mistakes all the time. But we also go back and try to correct those mistakes. It is not the action that is the problem, it is the lack of remorse that causes sin on our part. Therefore, we must be remorseful from our hearts if we want God to bless the work or our hands. To know where our hearts are, look at how God blesses the things we put our hands to.
Back to the king.
David knew that Shimei was partially right, he was a man of blood. God had even told him he could not do the one thing he desperately wanted to, build the house of the Lord because of his bloody hands. Therefore, instead of defending he took the abusive words and actions until he was weary and exhausted.
There is one other thing that gossipers and angry people and news reporters forget: When they touch God’s anointed with words or deeds, they answer to God for it. All the wrath they spew falls back onto their own lives and it never ends well for them. The Bible instructs us plainly:
1 Chronicles 16:22 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”
Psalm 105:15 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”
Over and over in the Old Testament, God’s prophets were killed or harmed. Over and over the person who did it paid dearly for it, many times with their very lives.
In the New Testament we say, Grace covers a multitude of sins. We even believe that attacking our authority, whether secular or spiritual, is our God-given right to free speech. We demand that right and find the nearest soapbox or TV station to do it on. But in the end, God’s Word never changes nor is He mocked. When he warned, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm’, He meant it.
Whatever happens to those people who have taken half truths about us as ministers and made people believe lies through dirt slinging? I don’t claim to understand this, but I do respect God’s authority. As long as we ride on by like David did, accept that God is in control, do our best to keep our mouths shut, take the beating without looking to the right or the left, then God will protect us. The person or people doing the slinging, they end up the loser.
Whatever happened to old Shimei anyway? Read 1 Kings 2: 8-9, 36-46 for the rest of his story. Once you have made yourself known to a ruler in such an audacious way, your name is rarely forgotten. Shimei’s surely was not.
Conclusion: Be careful before you take a half truth or an outright lie and use it. Be more careful with the one who tells it. God is always searching our heart to see if there is any evil way in it. If there is, make it right with Him and the person, especially if it is God’s anointed. Crossing people is one thing, crossing God is much more frightening.