Friday, January 27, 2012

Keeping my Word

Today's old testament reading is the infamous story of David and Bathsheba. As I read this particular story I could hear my two-year-old's words echoing in my head: "What it means, Mama?  What it means?"

This particular story seems to be about moral decadence, but there is more to the story than that.  It is more than the achetypal story of power going to one's head. It is a tale of what happens when one fails to keep his word.

King David was, by all accounts, a man of God.  As such, he had no doubt made certain commitments and promises to God, both explicit and implicit.  In this story of his encounter with Bathsheba, we see him turn his back on these commitments over and over. In choice after choice -- many of which were no doubt unconcious -- he departs from his religious identity.

It's a powerful story because it really is that simple in my life too.  It begins with what seems like an innocuous choice; in his case, staying home to take a nap instead of being in battle.  I am making an assumption here -- a big one, I realize -- but clearly he wasn't sick.  I am guessing that the King on that particular day decided to take the afternoon off, and I am guessing that in so doing, he broke his word to himself.  And once he did, breaking his word to God was a little easier.  That one, little, insignificant moral let-down opened the door to a series of moral compromises that ended in homicide.  It's pretty shocking.

All of this got me thinking about yesterday.  Yesterday, I broke my nap-time commitment to myself.  My commitment is that during naptime, I will either actually take a nap if I need it (rarely), or I will use my sitting down time to good purpose; study my anatomy book, pay bills, blog, etc.  Instead, I procrastinated by watching TV and browsing Pinterest.  God kept trying to wake me up; he sent me three little imps who refused to be quiet or stay on their beds, 4 phone calls, and two ringing doorbells.  But I stubbornly held on to my laziness and refused to keep my word to myself.  As a result, I had an unhappy evening.  I was "on my case," I was tired and depressed.  It was so not worth it. 

Fortunately my evening didn't degrade to the point that David's did.  We kind of love to look down our noses at the King, don't we?  However, I've known more than one person who had affairs and they all began with one simple, insignifcant, seemingly innocuous decison. 

I have countless opportunities every day to keep my word (both to myself and God), to put my best foot forward, to stand taller.  Food for thought.

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