In the story of 2 Samuel 13-15, Amnon, David’s first son, lusts for his half-sister, Tamar. He tries many times to coax her to be with him, but she refuses because she wants to stay pure. Amnon, with his friend Jonadab, hatch a plan to get Tamar into Amnon’s room. Amnon pretends to be sick and will only eat food if Tamar feeds him. Though she does not want to do it because she knows Amnon’s heart and mind, David convinces her to take food to Amnon. When she is in Amnon’s room, he overpowers her, rapes her, and then becomes angry with her and throws her out of his room.
Absalom, Tamar’s full-brother by blood, saw Tamar when she exited Amnon’s room and noticed her torment. When he asked what was wrong, she told him the story. David heard about the incident, but did nothing to confront Amnon or Tamar to resolve the issue and discipline Amnon (13:21). From that time, Absalom hated Amnon and looked for a good time to take revenge. Two years later at sheep-shearing time, Absalom asked David to let all his brothers help him with sheep shearing. David did not see a need for it. Absalom asked them for Amnon only. David agreed. Absalom hatched a plan to kill Amnon and told his servants when they heard him say, “Kill him,” they were to fall on Amnon and kill him. This they did.
A servant fled from Absalom’s home to tell David all his sons had been killed. One of David’s advisors, Jonadab, told him, “My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom’s expressed intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister, Tamar.” Later Jonadab told the king he saw his sons coming down a hill. They were not dead. By that time, Absalom fled his house, crossed the Jordan River, and went to his grandfather’s home in Geshur. His grandfather was Talmai, king of Geshur.
The story above covers only chapter thirteen. In chapters 14 and 15, Absalom stays away from Jerusalem, returns to Jerusalem by Joab’s prompting of David, is not welcome in David’s sight, pleads to see David, enters into David’s presence without being reconciled and forgiven, hatches a plan to take the throne from David, and scares David away from Jerusalem.
David failed to recognize and address Amnon’s sin against Tamar. He failed to address Absalom’s sin against Amnon and left him in Geshur to become bitter and angry. David requested Absalom’s return, but refused to see him. David, after three years and Absalom’s attention-seeking, permitted Absalom in his presence, but did not reconcile with him. David, the man after God’s heart, was not using God’s wisdom, nor showing God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. He did not address the sins of his children and, thus, did not forgive them. David did not console Tamar, and did not discipline Amnon and Absalom.
To ask for forgiveness, a person must recognize his or her sin. David did not address his family after committing adultery with Bathsheba. Amnon decided to act upon his lust and raped his sister. He saw what David did and did not constrain himself just as David did not constrain himself with Bathsheba. David did not use the time of repentance with God after Nathan confronted him to teach and lead his family to God again. The domino effect seemed to occur after that with the Amnon and Tamar incident, then with Amnon’s murder and Absalom’s rejection by David. At any point in these incidents, David could have interjected and stopped what would happen next by bringing the wisdom of God into the situation. He could have led his children back to focus on God instead of their own wants. By doing that, David could have led them to see their wrongdoings, led them to repentance with God and asking for forgiveness from God and their family, and to reconciliation. Yet, David did not do these.
After his and Bathsheba’s baby son died, David sought God’s forgiveness, but not that of his family. He did not use that as a teaching moment. He did not address Amnon and his sin so Absalom harbored unforgiveness in his heart against Amnon, which led to Amnon’s murder and Absalom’s greater guilt and sin. David did not forgive Absalom when he came before him. They were reunited in body, but not reconciled.
Unforgiven sin leads to separation – from the one who hurt you and from God. To have reconciliation, confession of one’s sin and forgiveness must occur. David never sought to restore Amnon and Absalom’s relationship to loving brotherhood. He did not seek to restore his relationship with Absalom and Absalom held it against him. Because of that, Absalom plotted to usurp David’s kingship. After David’s not reconciling with Absalom, Absalom worked at increasing his popularity and decreasing David’s. He sought to take the throne from David. David eventually fled Jerusalem with 600 people from his household.
Unconfessed sin leads to bitterness and more sin. Unforgiven sin lead to hard hearts, bitterness, and dissension. David could have been the example of God’s mercy and forgiveness, but we do not see that here. Absalom tried to get David’s attention to be able to be in his presence and be reconciled. David’s mercy did not extend to reconciliation. David had already forgotten the love and mercy of God who forgave him his sin with Bathsheba and allowed him to continue to live and reign as king of Israel.
We need to make sure our walk with God is a close walk so we can instantly recognize sin in our lives. When we recognize sin, we can confess and ask for God’s forgiveness so a wall is not built between Him and us. God said He is faithful and just to forgive all sin (1 John 1:9). We need only acknowledge it, confess it, and repent then God will extend his love, mercy, and forgiveness towards us.
Just as God gives us His love, mercy, and forgiveness, we need to extend it to others who have sinned against us. Even when a person does not recognize he or she sinned against us and hurt us, we must, through the power of God and His mercy, forgive the person who hurt us. If we do not, reconciliation cannot occur and bitterness will grow in our hearts. David harbored bitterness toward Absalom. Absalom harbored bitterness against Amnon, which led him to murder his own brother.
Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, hatred, and murder. Unconfessed sin leads to estrangement in relationships and bitterness. Today we must decide to seek God’s forgiveness. We must recognize our sin and confess them to God seeking His love, mercy, and forgiveness. Besides this, today we must forgive the person or people who have hurt us even if they do not ask for forgiveness. Unforgiveness leads to a hardened heart and bitterness. It keeps us from a close relationship with people and with God.
Sin leads to broken relationships and dissension.
Seek God and His love, mercy, and forgiveness.
He can turn brokenness into wholeness and unity.
What will you choose to do today?