Of several more, let’s learn two valuable lessons from David’s return from exile.
One, each person is responsible for his behavior. Absalom’s own nature accounted for his wickedness. David’s lenience had served his son’s worse instincts, but it didn’t make him evil Absalom’s handsome face and body ballooned his vanity, but didn’t cause his vanity. Praise bloated his ego, but didn’t create his ego.
No, the little man he was spiritually turned every whisper of admiration into a shout of adoration. He turned a violin solo played in his honor into a violin orchestra worshipping him. He simply swelled when praised, not grew.
Because he had nurtured a life full of sail, with too little ballast, always in danger of turning turtle. Like Richard the Lion, his life seemed a magnificent parade, but left only an empty plain when he passed.
Absalom learned to love himself by practicing self-importance. He learned the science of pleasure without accepting the art of accountability. He never understood that privilege without responsibility invariably invited disaster.
Now, we understand that God’s love loves even the unworthy person. And while we criticize David’s blind affection for Absalom, what parent wouldn’t appreciate it? Parents don’t stop loving their children when they don’t live right.
Christians can certainly understand. We disappoint God; sin against God; momentarily lose faith in God; and sometimes disgrace the very Faith of the One who loved us and gave himself for us. Would we want him to stop loving us, no matter how bad we are?
Two, and let us learn from David’s mistake. Never take on yourself someone else’s guilt. Remember the earlier point in this blog that Absalom alone decided the kind of person he would be. And he alone bore the penalty for his decisions. But until Joab’s rebuke awakened the king’s conscience, he blamed himself for Absalom’s decisions.
Scripture everywhere makes guilt personal, not corporate. Ezekiel 18:3ff, 33:12-16, II Corinthians 5:10 are a few of such passages.
In other words, no shared blame exists in guilt. God expects each person to rise above his environment and his temptations to make righteous decisions. Or, failing to, seek forgiveness of his sins. We can’t have someone else bear our guilt, confess our guilt or be forgiven our guilt. The opposite is also true. No virtue one possesses can be shared by another. God’s Grace suffices to save all repentant sinners one by one. No grace exists to save them in tandem! No one will be saved by another person’s merit when each is saved by Grace alone! Fini