When “The Point of The Matter” Isn’t The Point {DWITW 365}


Have you ever held someone in high regard only to find yourself dashed upon the rocks of disillusionment? Or those times when it’s you that messes up -- how do you handle that?

When I was younger, I loved reading “choose your own adventure” style books from the library. Those books revolved around a character who was presented with choices that you, as the reader, then got to interact with and decide what happened to them. Each choice revealed more options and consequences as the story unfolded. And sometimes through the twists and turns of my choices, the ending was unexpected, undesirable, or even abrupt.

At that point I’d go back a few pages and make a different choice - trying to look for ways to undo the mess I had just made. And while that may work in a book, it doesn’t work in real life -- although I may try.

Our reading in 2 Samuel 11-21 this week reminds me of a “choose your own adventure.” David made choices. Others made choices. One choice led to an action which, in turn, fed into another choice. Our reading overflows with examples of people reacting to choices that were made -- either theirs or someone else’s.

  • David chose not to accompany his troops in conquest
    And conquered another man’s wife instead
  • Amnon chose not to heed the pleas of his sister
    And acted on his own sinful desires
  • Absalom chose not to honor his father
    And made a fatal power play for the throne

Deceit, revenge, and even murder characterize some of the undesirable results of those choices. Before I’m too quick to remove myself from that storyline, I need to admit I’m just as capable. While I may not commit murder in the physical sense of the word, what do I do? Do I orchestrate a scheme to cover my tracks? Make excuses? Threaten? Manipulate? Give up in despair? Become numb? Demanding? Unforgiving?

When the actions of others disappoint me or affect my sense of security, identity, control, or comfort, am I quick to react with a counter move of my own? Or do I choose to respond by seeking God’s face first and with finality? Thankfully, within the reactions and choices found in this week’s reading, there are corresponding Psalms about choosing to respond and cry out to God in the midst of the messes at hand.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
-Psalm 32:1

Psalm 12 eloquently captures the mess of our circumstances, while Psalm 32 addresses the mess of our hearts. Within the context of Psalm 3, David is fleeing from his son, Absalom, who betrays him and turns the Israelites against the king. To make matters worse, King David then faces taunting and disrespectful jeers from a member of former King Saul’s clan. I can’t even imagine the anger, rejection, embarrassment, frustration, vulnerability, shame, and hatred David felt! And yet, look at his response: ”But you LORD (LORD stands for Yahweh -- God’s personal, covenant keeping name) are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (Ps. 3:3) Remember, this is coming from David -- who had pretty much just flunked his “choose your own adventure” moment.

 So what’s the point of the matter?

The point of the matter isn’t that we’ve messed up, or even that someone else messed up all over us (yet again). Rather, the point of the matter is that when “mess ups” happen -- either through us or to us-- we are given a choice. Will we react, or respond?


Jackie Perseghetti wants to live in a world where every human realizes they are walking wounded and in need of God’s grace. Her heart is to be God’s person at God’s time in the life of another and she looks for God-given moments to breathe life and encouragement. When Jackie is not going on adfuntures with her hubby (adventure with fun at the center) or teaching drums or the art of papercrafting, you can find her digging in her garden, storytelling to her grandkids, or sharing the stirrings of her heart at  www.smallstepsintofreedom.wordpress.com  She takes great comfort in her favorite Bible verses: Isaiah 41:10 and Isaiah 46:4.