Hate can destroy a person’s life. Resentment over a past wrong can fester and cause a soul to become very infected with anger. Far too many times I have seen people hold on to grudges for years. Children against parents, parents against kids, siblings, friends, church members, and more.
The resentment and anger seems to season and get worse with age, as each new offense is magnified. Days, weeks, months, even years and decades can pass with these strained and broken relationships. People are even willing to self-destruct if it means hurting the other person. The anger runs so deep and the tap root of their bitterness is well established.
Every time I come to the story of Ahithophel I am reminded of the dangers of unforgivness, bitterness, resentment, and anger. Ahithophel was one of the major counsellors to David, and 2 Samuel 16:23 says, “And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God…” He was an old, wise man who advice was compared to receiving direct revelation from God. WOW!
You might wonder why Ahithophel: 1) would betray David 2) committed suicide. Both of these questions I believe can be answered with one truth and shocking revelation about Ahithophel. 2 Samuel 23:34 tells us, “…Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,” and 2 Samuel 11:3 tells us, “…Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”. Bathsheba’s father was Eliam, and Eliam’s father was Ahithophel. Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather.
We are not told the exact reason why Ahithophel turned his back of David so abruptly, but we have some hard evidence that it has something to do with David’s sin with Bathsheba. This becomes all the more evident when we see Ahithophel’s reaction to Absalom’s rejection of his plan to kill David. When Ahithophel felt he could not get “revenge” he killed himself.
The anger and resentment of Ahithophel drove his life, and led him down a path of pay back at any cost. He was unwilling to forgive the actions of David against his granddaughter, and every day he allowed it to eat him up on the inside. His anger and passion toward hurting David grew and grew as did his conspiracy with Absalom. Finally vengeance would be his… but he was robbed of the opportunity. Notice in Chapter 17, Ahithophel himself wants to lead the men against David. This was personal.
The reality is that Ahithophel’s resentment was self-destructive. He was a ticking time bomb. He was will to destroy his entire life in pursuit of destroying David’s.
I hope this story doesn’t sound eerily similar to a situation in your life. Resentment, anger, bitterness, and the like can creep into our lives so easily. If you are not careful your life can become consumed with a passion to see another fall apart.
I distinctly remember falling into this trap for a short time in my teen years. I was hurt, and wanted the person who hurt me to hurt too. Every time they prospered or were happy, I was bitter and angry. It was like an internal battle that I knew was wrong, but I wanted them to hurt. Thankfully this was short lived, and God showed me the error of my way. My either life was becoming consumed with the success or failure of another. When they failed, I felt better, and when they succeeded I was angry… what a miserable way to live!
It can be difficult, but you HAVE to forgive. If Christ could forgive you, surely you can forgive this person who has “wronged” you. Forgiveness has SO MUCH more to do with the benefits it brings to your life, than any it would bring to the life of the one you forgive. Let the bitterness, resentment, and anger go. It may be hard, but by God’s grace you can.
Don’t allow anger to destroy you like it did Ahithophel
Daily Scripture Reading
2 Samuel 16 - 18
2 Samuel 18:32
“And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is.”