When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. …
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.” 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?’… Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 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.” 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.
And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.
2 Samuel 16:5-6, 9-14 (ESV)
I have my own personal Shimei.
He walks beside me from a safe distance and throws rocks and insults at me. Some hit and hurt; some miss. The whole thing is exhausting.
He struck again the other day, a sucker punch that caught me by surprise. It knocked the wind out of me.
Whenever this happens, my emotions run the gamut of Abishai to … well, I never quite reach David. My friends similarly run the gamut of Abishai to Aaron and Hur, Moses’ companions, the ones who held up his arms.
I had wanted to put Shimei behind me.
I had wanted to reach my Jordan and find safety and refreshment.
I had wanted to focus my energies on my family.
But God, well, He had other plans.
One evening after the latest insult/rock-throwing episode, I went for a walk, griping at God — Can’t You see that I’m trying to do something good here?
Then St. Gregory spoke up (in my devotional book).
The highest, the only proof of love, is to love our adversary.
St. Gregory, quoted in Aquinas: Catena Aurea
It’s easy to love my father.
Of course, any caregiver can tell you that it’s not always easy. Sometimes he argues and is confused and doesn’t believe the things I tell him. But, at the end of the day, when I lay my weary head on my pillow, I love my dad.
Shimei, on the other hand — he’s another story. His words hurt. His stones hurt. His flung dust gets in my eyes and I can’t see.
A while ago, I began praying for my Shimei by name. Oh, Lord, help me to love this person!
I don’t know what that love looks like because I’m not there yet.
I’m just so tired and longing for the Jordan.