There is a very funny story in 2 Samuel 10 regarding King David, another country’s King, some good old fashion hospitality, a handful of hostility, and a sprinkle of half nude ambassadors.
King Hanun’s father died and as a sign of respect and continued peace and truce King David sent some men to console Hanun. Now this story is littered with wonderful life lessons, however, let’s focus on the portion where David’s royal crew were forced to sport the half-stache.
Now when someone passes from this life to the next it is common to send flowers or a card to express sympathy. David had a relationship of peace with the Ammonites and went the extra mile. Forget the Hallmark experience, David sent ambassadors. He deployed an entire convoy of men trained to comfort people in sorrow to newly crowned King Hanun.
Hanun received an earful of bad advice from his counsel and made a terribly hilarious (and incredibly stupid) decision about how to handle David’s band of aids (Get it! Band Aid!). Long story short, David’s boys headed home with half a beard and their rear-ends hanging outside of their robes. David, being a good guy and feeling rather sorry, told the weird-beards to stay at a different town to avoid being further embarrassed.
So how should we react when we extend the hand of hospitality and find ourselves on the bad end of a shave or wardrobe malfunction? What did David do? He laid a heavy beat down on the Ammonites. 40,701 were counted as dead because of one King’s bad choice (2 Sam 10:18).
We obviously can’t pull a sword out everytime we are mistreated, but we do have a solution for when hospitality meets hostility.
“You know that Hebrew Scripture sets this standard of justice and punishment: take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say this, don’t fight against the one who is working evil against you. if someone strikes you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. If someone connives to get your shirt, give him you jacket as well. If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile walk with him for two instead. If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something fro you to not turn away. You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you…” (The Voice Translation)
I’m not saying this will be easy, natural, or even fun. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote on the cost of discipleship. Bonhoeffer makes it very apparent the it will cost us each a pretty penny. So much that it will cost us our life choosing to follow. Therefore, it’s pretty clear to me that if you are following the Son of God, this is the way we should follow.