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    Abusive Bosses--- Raging Sauls

 

All the passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “Facing Your Giants” published in 2006.

          http://www.maxlucado.com/

 

     SHARON checks her rearview mirror ... again. She studies the faces of other drivers ... again. She keeps an eye out for him, because she knows he'll come after her. .. again.

     "Nothing will keep me from you" was the message Tony had left on her voice mail. "I'm your husband."

     Her ex-husband's paroxysms of anger and flying fists and her black eyes had led to divorce. Still he neglected warnings, ignored restraining orders, and scoffed at the law.

     So Sharon checks the rearview mirror ... again.

     Down the road, around the corner, an office worker named Adam does some checking of his own. He peeks in the door of his boss's office, sees the empty chair, and sighs with relief. With any luck, he'll have an hour, maybe two, before the Scrooge of the dot-com world appears in his doorway, likely hungover, angry, and disoriented.

     Scrooge jr. inherited the company from Scrooge Sr. Running the business frustrates junior. He reroutes his stress toward the employees he needs the most. Such as Adam. Junior rants and raves, gives tongue-lashings daily, and compliments with the frequency of Halley's comet.

     Sharon ducks her ex, Adam avoids his boss, and you? What ogres roam your world?

     Controlling moms. Coaches from the school of Stalin. The pit-bull math teacher. The self-appointed cubicle commandant. The king who resolves to spear the shepherd boy to the wall.

     That last one comes after David. Poor David. The Valley of Elah proved to be boot camp for the king's court. When Goliath lost his head, the Hebrews made David their hero. People threw him a ticker-tape parade and sang, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands" (1 Samuel 18:7).

     Saul explodes like the Vesuvius he is. Saul eyes David "from that day forward"(18:9). The king is already a troubled soul, prone to angry eruptions, mad enough to eat bees. David's popularity splashes gasoline on Saul's temper. "I will pin David to the wall!" (18:11).

     Saul tries to kill Bethlehem's golden boy six different times. First, he invites David to marry his daughter Michal. Seems like a kind gesture, until you read the crude dowry Saul required. One hundred Philistine foreskins. Surely one of the Philistines will kill David, Saul hopes. They don't. David doubles the demand and returns with the proof (18:25-27).

     Saul doesn't give up. He orders his servants and Jonathan to kill David, but they refuse (19:1). He tries with the spear another time but misses (19:10). Saul sends messengers to David's house to kill him, but his wife, Michal, lowers him through a window. David the roadrunner stays a step ahead of Saul the coyote.

     Saul's anger puzzles David. What has he done but good? He has brought musical healing to Saul's tortured spirit, hope to the enfeebled nation. He is the Abraham Lincoln of the Hebrew calamity, saving the republic and doing so modestly and honestly. He behaves "wisely in all his ways" (18:14). “All Israel and Judah loved

David" (18:16). David behaves "more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed" (18:30).

     Yet, Mount Saul keeps erupting, rewarding David's deeds with flying spears and murder plots. We understand David's question to Jonathan: "What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?" (20:1).

     Jonathan has no answer to give, for no answer exists. Who can justify the rage of a Saul?

     Who knows why a father torments a child, a wife belittles her husband, a boss pits employees against each other? But they do. Sauls still rage on our planet. Dictators torture, employers seduce, ministers abuse, priests molest, the strong and mighty control and cajole the vulnerable and innocent. Sauls still stalk Davids.

     How does God respond in such cases? Nuke the nemesis? We may want him to. He's been known to extract a few Herods and Pharaohs. How he will treat yours, I can't say. But how he will treat you, I can. He will send you a Jonathan.

     God counters Saul's cruelty with Jonathan's loyalty. Jonathan could have been as jealous as Saul. As Saul's son, he stood to inherit the throne. A noble soldier himself, he was fighting Philistines while David was still feeding sheep.

     Jonathan had reason to despise David, but he didn't. He was gracious. Gracious because the hand of the Master Weaver took his and

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The hand of the Master Weaver took Jonathan's

and David's hearts and stitched a seam between them.

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David's hearts and stitched a seam between them. "The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (18:1).

     As if the two hearts were two fabrics, God "needle and threaded" them together. So interwoven that when one moved, the other felt it. When one was stretched, the other knew it.

     On the very day David defeats Goliath, Jonathan pledges his loyalty.

 

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt. (18:3-4)

 

     Jonathan replaces David's bucolic garment with his own purple robe: the robe of a prince. He presents his own sword to David. He effectively crowns young David. The heir to the throne surrenders his throne.

     And, then, he protects David. When Jonathan hears the plots of

Saul, he informs his new friend. When Saul comes after David, Jonathan hides him. He commonly issues warnings like this one: "My father Saul seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide" (19:2).

     Jonathan gives David a promise, a wardrobe, and protection. "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverb 18:24). David found such a friend in the son of Saul.

     Oh, to have a friend like Jonathan. A soul mate who protects you, who seeks nothing but your interests, wants nothing but your happiness. An ally who lets you be you. You feel safe with that person. No need to weigh thoughts or measure words. You know his or her faithful hand will sift the chaff from the grain, keep what matters, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away. God gave David such a friend.

     He gave you one as well. David found a companion in a prince of Israel; you can find a friend in the King of Israel, Jesus Christ. Has he

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David found a companion in a prince of Israel;
you can find a friend in the King of Israel, Jesus Christ.

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not made a covenant with you? Among his final words were these: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

     Has he not clothed you? He offers you "white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed" (Revelations 3:18). Christ cloaks you with clothing suitable for heaven.

     In fact, he outdoes Jonathan. He not only gives you his robe; he dons your rags. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).

     Jesus dresses you. And, like Jonathan, he equips you. You are invited to "put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil" (Ephesians 6:11 NLT).

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You long for one true friend? You have one.

And because you do, you have a choice. You can ...

ponder the malice of your monster or the

kindness of your Christ.

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From his armory he hands you the belt of truth, the body armor of righteousness, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (vv 13-17).

     Just as Jonathan protected David, Jesus vows to protect you. "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me" (John 10:28 NLT).

     You long for one true friend? You have one. And because you do, you have a choice. You can focus on your Saul or your Jonathan, ponder the malice of your monster or the kindness of your Christ.

     Beverly1 chooses to maximize Christ. Isn't easy. How can you shift your focus away from the man who raped you? He entered Beverly's home under the guise of official business. She had every reason to trust him: personal acquaintance and professional associate. He worked for the state and requested an audience with Beverly. But he took more than her time.

     He denied and successfully covered up the deed. As he continues to move up the political ladder, Beverly spots him on the evening news, encounters him at parties. While he feigns innocence, she churns within.

     But not like she used to. Two years after the rape she met her Jonathan. A friend told her about Christ---his protection, his provision, and his invitation. She accepted it. Memories of the rape still dog her, but they don't control her. She isn't left alone with her Saul anymore. She seeks Christ rather than revenge; she measures choices against his mercy, not her violator's cruelty. Beverly ponders and praises the living presence of Jesus. Doing so heals her soul.

     Major in your evil emperor, if you choose. Paint horns on his picture. Throw darts at her portrait. Make and memorize a list of everything the Spam-brain took: your childhood, career, marriage, health. Live a Saul-saturated life. Wallow in the sludge of pain. You'll feel better, won't you?

     Or will you?

     I spent too much of a high school summer sludging through sludge. Oil field work is dirty enough at best. But the dirtiest job of all? Shoveling silt out of empty oil tanks. The foreman saved such

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Linger too long in the stench of your hurt,

and you'll smell like the toxin you despise.

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jobs for the summer help. (Thanks, boss.) We donned gas masks, pried open the metal door, and waded into ankle-deep, contaminated mire. My mom burned my work clothes. The stink stuck.

            Yours can do the same. Linger too long in the stench of your hurt, and you'll smell like the toxin you despise.

     The better option? Hang out with your Jonathan. Bemoan Saul

less; worship Christ more. Join with David as he announces:

 

The Lord lives!

Blessed be my Rock!  . . .

It is God who avenges me,

And subdues the peoples under me;

He delivers me from my enemies....

You have delivered me from the violent man.

Therefore I will give thanks to You, 0 Lord, among the Gentiles,

And sing praises to Your name. (Ps. 18:46-49)

 

     Wander freely and daily through the gallery of God's goodness. Catalog his kindnesses. Everything from sunsets to salvation---look at what you have. Your Saul took much, but Christ gave you more! Let Jesus be the friend you need. Talk to him. Spare no detail. Disclose your fear and describe your dread.

     Will your Saul disappear? Who knows? And, in a sense, does it matter? You just found a friend for life. What could be better than that? [19-26]

 

Notes

1. Names and details have been changed.

 

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