ďLIFE WITHOUT REGRETSĒ†††††††††††††††††††††††† By Pastor YAU
Text: 2 Samuel 18:31-19:7††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
1) A modern-day regret: In the 1980s, the British band Mike and the Mechanics recorded a powerful song titled, ďThe Living Years.Ē The songwriter mourned his fatherís death, because their relationship had been strained and marked by silence rather than sharing. The singer remorsefully says, ďI didnít get to tell him all the things I had to say.Ē Struggling with regret over words unsaid and love unexpressed, he lamented, ďI just wish I could have told him in the living years.Ē
2) An ancient-time regret: King David similarly regretted his broken relationship with his son Absalom. Angered over his fatherís refusal to punish his older brother, Amnon, for raping his sister Tamar, Absalom killed Amnon and fled. (2 Sam. 13:21-34) Davidís servant Joab knew that he longed to see his fugitive son, so he arranged for Absolom to come back to see his father. But their relationship was never the same again. Absolomís bitterness sparked a revolt against his father that ended with his own death. (18:14) It was a bitter victory for David, causing him to lament broken-hearted for his lost son and their failed relationship. (18:33) No amount of grief or regret could undo Davidís heartache.
RELATIONSHIP IN THE BIBLE:
1) God desires relationship: Ever since God created Adam and Eve, He desired a close relationship with the first couple. Later in history, God courted a close relationship with Abraham and his descendant, the Israelis. Throughout the Old Testament years, God repeatedly courted a closer relationship with Israel through the prophets. He portrayed Himself as a father to the Israelis as His children.
2) Jesus built relationships: Through out his earthly ministry, Jesus demonstgrated a close relationship with God, His Father, and His disciples as close friends. He repeatedly called God His Father and his disciples his friends. He built close relationship with his close friends like Peter, John and James. He also kept a close friendship with his followers like Martha and Mary. Above all, Jesus treasured his close relationship with his mother, Mary.
3) Paul loved relationship: Although Paul had never married and had no family of his own, he built very close relationship with many of his friends and coworkers. He particularly had good friendship with many of his coworkers like Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, Luke, Silas and others. To some churches, Paul portrayed his love to the people in churches as a fatherís love to his children.
4) Church is about relationship: Since the founding of the first church in Jerusalem, relationship was the main focus in Christian life. We see them built relationship thorugh worship, Bible study groups, though fellowship meals as a congregation, shared their properties and resources, supported each other in time to persecution and poverty. Through out the 2,000 years of Christian history, Christians called and treated each other as brothers and sister in Christ with God as our Heavenly Father. We are all in Godís family.
BROKEN RELATIONSHIP HURTS: (2 Samuel 18:31-19:7)
1) It brings tragic ending: ďThen the Cushite arrived and said: My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has delivered you today from all who rose up against you.Ē (18:31)The good news to the Cushite was the worst news for King David, it was the death of his son, Absalom. Regardless whichever way you may look in the broken relationship between the father and his son, the end was the death of a son. Unless steps are taken while you still have time to restore a broken relationship and do it fast, the usual ending of a broken relationship is heartbroken and regret.
2) It brings surging pain: ďThe king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went he said: ďO my son Absalom! My son, my son, Absalom!, If only I had died instead of you---O Absalom, my son, my son!Ē (18:33)You donít have to be a father who loses a son to feel the surging pain and sorrow as King David in this situation. It may be a victory to suppress a revolt against a king. But to pay the price of suppressing a revolt with the life of a son is way too steep to the king. There is no winner in any and all broken relationships be it in a family or with other close ones.
3) It brings sorrow to others: ďAnd for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said: The king was grieving for his son.Ē (19:2)Some may think that a broken relationship in the family or with some close friend is a personal matter, but it is not. Any broken relationship at home, in church or between friends will inevitably hurt others, those who are close to you and are part of your life circle. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul stressed that when one part of the body is hurt, the whole body hurts.
4) It creates chain reaction: ďThen Joab went into the house to the king and said: Today, you have humiliated all your men who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage men. I swear by the Lord that if you donít go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall.Ē (19:5-7)There is no need of explanation that the death of Absalom is not the end of a broken relationship in a family. It has become now a crisis of a kingdom between the king and his army and people. No one expected this would happen, but it did.
RESTORING BROKEN RELATIONSHIP:
1) Detecting the problem: No relationship is broken overnight. It takes sometime and a process to get deteriorated. Be alert to detect signs of deterioration and take steps to mend the fence that may save lots of heartache later.
2) Recognizing the breaking: When things are getting down turn, it is time to see the danger coming. To deny the truth or ignore the facts may cost you much more later on. If you are sick, you have to see a doctor. If the relationship is in strain condition, it is wise to face the reality and be serious to take steps to prevent it from getting worse. Be aware of pride that often stops one or both from taking the first step to stop the deteriorating downhill.
3) Seizing the opportunity: Few broken relationships are meant to be broken without warning. Most people are willing to do something to either prevent it from happening or to restore the broken ones. Both David and Absalom missed the golden opportunity to reconcile with each other when Absalom was brought back to the palace. Whatever the reason, they both bore the responsibility of not willing to take the first step to mend the fence when the opportunity was there. Usually pride is the primary stumbling block to stop people from taking the first step to revolve the difference and restore the relationship.
4) Donít wait for another day: Everyone can see how much David loved Absalom, regardless of the revolt he had staged. Why he wanted to hide his true feeling about his son when he was alive? Why didnít David go to his son and pour out his love in his face and reconcile to each other? And why didnít Absalom go to his father and confide his grievances? If one of them had done something while there was time and opportunity, things wonít get to that tragic ending. Donít wait another day to take the first step to restore a broken relationship. No amount of grief or regret may do any good when it is too late.
1) Itís all about people: Ask anyone, rich or poor, much educated or illiterate, what is most important in his/her life? Great majority will say it is people, not things. Without cordial relationship with people, family, friends, church, work, school, neighbor, nothing can make your life happy, much less meaningful. Take time and make efforts to build relationship with those whom God has placed in the path of your life. Either long term or short term, they all add up to the full account of your life, either it is full of rich friendship or being lonely.
2) Itís all opportunity: If you ever detect any crack or negligence in a relationship, do not wait another day but take steps to repair, mend and restore the relationship. Donít be afraid to take your part of the responsibility, to admit fault and say sorry. Do your best to make it up the lost time and love. Do all you can while you still have time and courage to rebuild the relationship. Donít wait until it is too late.
3) Itís the most important: Relationship with people is important. But relationship with God is much more important because it is about your soul and eternity. Go to God now and confess your sins and ask Him to forgive them. Invite Jesus into your heart to be the Lord of your life. This is a necessary step you need to take to receive your eternal life in heaven. While you are still alive and here is the opportunity, donít wait another day.