“They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb.  All the people wept also”.  2 Samuel 3:32

Playing lot football growing up remains a very fond memory of mine.  Those occasions were usually unplanned times of pure competitive fun.  We’d typically start out with a handful of kids and a football.  Gradually more and more kids would just join mid-game.  Sometimes it felt like the entire neighborhood was playing!

But a natural problem would arise as the number of bodies would increase.  It became increasingly challenging to know who was on which team.  On more than one occasion, someone would toss the ball to a player they think is a teammate, only to see that person sprint the opposite direction for a touchdown.  Or we’d  miss a wide-open teammate, because we thought he was on the other side.  (I was actually hoping Rodgers would experience a similar confusion last Sunday, but sadly it didn’t happen.)

Not knowing who is own your side of the competition can lead to regrettable consequences.

And the stakes only rise exponentially when it comes the mission of God and the church.

I’m afraid we live in a time when it has become much easier and acceptable for believers to regard their brothers and sisters in Christ as the opposition.  Issues centered around vaccines and masks and political interest have turned the church against itself.  The things that should unite us, such as the belief in salvation through faith in Christ alone, seems to carry less sway in our hearts and minds.  How did we allow this to happen?  More importantly, how do we began to take strides towards healing and reconciliation?

I believe the journey to restored unity must began with lament.  The church must be brought to a kind of godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10) that causes each of us to weep over where we’ve fallen.

If David was like many of us, he would not be weeping.  He would be rejoicing.  In 2 Samuel 3 we find God’s people in a very nasty civil war.  Saul is dead.  David is the rightful king.  Yet Abner, a military general, has a vested interest in keeping the crown in Saul’s family.  Verse 1 of that chapter reveals that this civil war “lasted a long time”.  But now Abner, the leader of the opposition has been ruthlessly murdered (v. 27), effectively ending the war.  David should be rejoicing.  Right?   Instead what we find is a man who is inconsolable in his grief.

Why is David weeping…loudly?  I will tell you why.  David has not allowed himself to be carried away by the conflict.  He knows whose on his team.  Indeed, David loved unity and reconciliation.  He longed to be one day reconciled with Saul, though it never happened.  He longed for unity and peace to be realized amongst God’s people.  It was David who penned the words of Psalm 133, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”.  David had a heart like Jesus.

And I love his leadership.  David does not instigate hostility and division, but his very public weeping leads “all the people” to weep over the death of Abner.  That’s godly leadership.   Oh, that we had more believers (leaders) with that kind of heart!

Have you lost sight of your teammate, my friend?  It is a sad and terrible condition you have fallen in.  Plead with God for a heart that grieves over the things that grieve His heart.  Today choose decide to began the pleasant pursuit of peace with the blessed family of Christ.

In Him,

Pastor Mark Lockett