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Mean People

Beyond Even

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How far will anger take you when pushed by mean people? For David, a fugitive facing torment from those who should have shown him kindness, revenge seemed the only recourse. With 400 men at his side, he marched toward bloodshed and vengeance. But one woman would change his story – and perhaps yours as well.

Abigail faced a mean man of her own in her husband Nabal, but she had cultivated wisdom beyond her years. When she learned of the threat to her household, she took swift action. Leaving behind empty words, she met David with a gift that might give her access to turn his fury. With keen insight into human nature and faith in a higher power, Abigail appealed to David’s better angels. Her appeal would prevent violence and foreshadow a deeper truth: that returning good for evil overcomes all.

This passage reveals how to transform tales of torment into triumphs of grace through appealing to humanity’s potential for forgiveness. Let Abigail’s example inspire you to overcome mean people in your life, not by sinking to their level but by rising above with bold acts of compassion.

  1. David has some mean people in his life, specifically a man named Nabal who insults David’s men when they ask for provisions.
  2. David plans to seek revenge against Nabal by killing him and his whole household. He takes 400 men to carry out his plan.
  3. Nabal’s wife, Abigail, hears what happened and takes food to meet David before he can attack.
  4. Abigail appeals to David’s better nature, reminding him of God’s past faithfulness and implying revenge isn’t the godly path. She prevents bloodshed.
  5. David realizes Abigail was right and he was about to act uncharacteristically. He decides not to seek revenge after being talked down by Abigail.
  6. The story is used to encourage dealing with mean people through non-violence rather than revenge, following Jesus’ example of returning good for evil. Doing good for those who mistreat you is presented as the godly standard.

As followers of Christ, remarkable lives of returning good for evil are not optional – they are our calling. When mean people cross our paths, may we respond as Abigail and David came to; with wisdom, nonviolence and care for our enemies’ souls.

Though darkness seems to reign in this fallen world, our light can shine all the brighter by embracing forgiveness over fury. In so doing, we overcome evil and point others to the One who overcame ultimate meanness through ultimate goodness on the cross. The stories we leave behind start now – what tale of triumph over torment will you choose to tell?


1 Samuel 16, 1 Samuel 25

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