How do you handle moody, angry or just plain foolish people?
Anyone who knows me knows that I have no tolerance for nonsense. If I can, I walk away from those people…and I stay away.
But what if we can’t walk away…what if it’s people we work with or live with, what if it’s family or someone we are forced to encounter often…then what?
There is a story in the Bible of a woman who faced foolishness everyday. In fact, she was married to Nabal, a man whose name literally means fool.
Her name is Abigail and her story is found in 1 Samuel 25.
David and his men are on the run from King Saul. David is hungry and requests food from the wealthy but foolish sheep shearer, Nabal. This was a common practice in those days. Think of it as a tip or payback for the protection David and his men had been providing over Nabal’s shepherds.
But Nabal brashly and rudely rejected David’s request for food. Now David isn’t just hungry, he is HANGRY (hungry + angry). He is so hangry, he swears to kill the men of Nabal’s household.
Abigail is told about David’s plan to kill her family. Without skipping a beat, she quickly gathers food, meets David on the road, and graciously pleas for his mercy.
She carefully crafts into her ‘plea’ a little mention of David’s sling shot (nothing like some food and the reference of a past accomplishment to boost a man’s ego). She speaks into his future and urges him to not waste his time on needless bloodshed.
She tells David (my paraphrase), ‘Look, God has bigger plans for you than this. Do you really want to waste your energy killing my husband’s household?’
David listens and relents.
Soon after these events, Nabal dies and David asks Abigail to be his wife.
Abigail is no longer the wife of Nabal (the fool), she is now the wife of David (the future king of Israel).
Don’t get me wrong, I am not wishing for all the foolish, angry, and moody people in this world to die like Nabal….that’s not my takeaway from this story.
The message is simple. Abigail understood her position of influence. Her ability to change her surroundings rather than her surroundings changing her.
She stayed consistent.
She didn’t sulk about her lot in life (being married to a man whose name means fool couldn’t have been easy). She didn’t throw her hands in the air in despair and give up.
Abigail continued being Abigail.
The Bible described her as beautiful and intelligent…and that is who she continued to be. When told of David’s plan to destroy Nabal’s household, she acted wisely but swiftly…never missing a beat and saving the lives of many.
Whatever (or whoever) you are facing today…I pray you understand your position of influence and the authority God has given you…not to be dragged down by others but rather to lift others up.
Like Abigail, God can use YOU to change and even save the lives of those around you.