Most often those who take pleasure in the downfall of others are full of fear themselves and their antics are masks to cover their cowardice hearts. 2 Tim. 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of self-control. Nonetheless, we are often wrong and need to come to the reality that being wrong is not a shameful thing. As a matter of fact, it is most often the way we learn a new thing in life.
We see this pride at work on the battlefield of Israel. David’s oldest brother, Eliab, sees David talking with the men about the situation concerning Goliath. Eliab starts to belittle David with hurtful words, then he tries to one-up him through shame and sarcasm. Everything Eliab is accusing David of is the very thing Eliab is acting out of his own heart and soul.1 Sam. 17:28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
Basically paraphrased, “You’re just a small sheepherder of no significance. You’re not a super soldier like I am.” There definitely is no room for the words “I’m sorry” in Eliab’s vocabulary. Why? Because it takes humility and courage to apologize and repent for the hurts we have caused. The Archbishop of Canterbury said, “We sometimes have to crawl into the valley of humility in order to climb the heights of character. Humility is the soil in which pride has difficulty to grow.”
A few years ago my wife asked me to pick up a couple of things she needed at the grocery store. It was early in the morning and quiet except for the musac that numbs the senses if you actually listen to it. There were three cashiers open and two of them were at one end of the frontage of the store and one was at the far end. As I walked by the one who was alone, I was struck with such aching and crying of heart that I almost collapsed.
The cashier was the exact duplicate in facial image, hair color, size and age of a girl I had shamefully humiliated in high school. At that moment the truth and understanding of what I had done over forty-five years ago to her wounded soul was palpable and real as if it were yesterday. I said to God, “Oh Lord, I am so sorry for the way I treated her. I want to ask her for forgiveness if I could.” Then I felt the Lord say, “Go and ask the cashier if she will stand in proxy for the girl you humiliated.” Num. 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
There were still no customers around her so I went up to her and said, “This might seem strange but you are the exact duplicate of a girl I went to high-school with.” I then went on to confess my sin and explain to the young cashier why I needed forgiveness and I asked her if she would stand in proxy for her and forgive me. She actually said, “I stand in proxy for her and I forgive you for what you did.” The weight of the world came off my shoulders at that moment and I thanked the Lord for His goodness.
I believe what took place in the spirit that morning was twofold. I was set free and I truly believe whatever affect my terrible treatment had on the young lady was also healed in her from the hurt I had caused. John 8:36 Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. This feeling of being set free for both of us was a deep knowing in my soul. God is so good. Don’t ever be afraid to say, “I am sorry.” It truly is liberating. Prov. 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. God bless you all.