The Sheep Have Teeth

Photo Credit: Sam Carter
“I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among man-eating beasts, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.” Psalm 57:4

Before he was the leader of Israel, David penned a lot of lyrics like this one. Reading the whole psalm you would think he was being hunted by an opposing army, but interestingly he was being hotly pursued by his own king, a man named Saul.

Both men are military leaders, both are Israelites, and both worship the same God — can’t we just get along?

It always surprises me how quickly Christians can turn on one another. If something doesn’t go our way or if someone says something that offends us we become angry and vitriolic towards those that Christ has commanded us to love. Though we are sheep of the same fold, we certainly have teeth and we don’t hesitate to use them to get our point across in a disagreement. Though no longer utilizing “spears and arrows” we prefer a more subtle approach to our man-eating; Emails, Facebook, and Twitter for example. Verbal violence is never a good solution to a disagreement or quarrel. In the beginning of the chapter David models the perfect response for someone who feels attacked. “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings…” (Psalm 57:1)

David never returned insult for insult (1 Peter 3:9) but instead petitioned God for healing. Even when he was attacked on every side by his enemies he was able to praise God. That is not easy to do. When I’m attacked by someone I want to bear my spiritual teeth — I want to get even.

So if you find yourself in a similar situation as David, here are three things that can help you deal with the bite marks that you may have gotten over the years.

  1. Give it to God. I know, I hate it when people say that too. But, it’s true. Remember what God says? “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:9) He’ll take care of it even when you cannot.
  2. Forgive. This is difficult too. What if the person never says they’re sorry? What if they don’t know they offended you? What if they are already dead and gone? You can still forgive because forgiveness starts within you. If you do find it hard to forgive, remember that God forgave you first (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. Check Your Own Words. It’s always a good time to think about they way you speak to others. Is your speech encouraging, uplifting, and grace-oriented. Or is it cutting, cynical, and sarcastic. (Psalm 19:4)

Don’t worry, nobody’s perfect and as we work hard to live together as Christians, non-Christians, and everyone in between, they way we talk to each other and treat each other says a lot about what kind of sheep we are.