Guest post by Leo. (I’m adding commentary here because this is my blog and I don’t want my readers noticing how much better Leo is at writing than me. What? I’m not proud.)
Quick Bible story. Once upon a time, Israel had a king named Saul. God chose Saul to be king, then Saul messed up and God told Saul he would no longer be king. God found a shepherd boy named David and told him he would be the new king… someday. Amazingly, it took twenty or thirty years for the transition to actually happen. The events are told in all of their steamy details in the book of I Samuel.
I’ll get to parenting/fostering in a minute, I promise… (Hey! It’s my job to use a ridiculous amount of words here. You’d better get to it quick buck-O!)
During the intervening years, when Saul knew he wouldn’t be king someday and David knew he would be king someday, things got a little awkward. Saul tried to kill David on multiple occasions. David finally had enough of near-death situations and ran away. Many years followed with Saul pursuing David and his posse in and out of desert caves trying to kill him. There is a remarkable story in I Samuel 24 – and a remarkably similar story in chapter 26 – in which Saul pursues David, then falls asleep right in front of David’s hiding place, completely vulnerable. David is strongly advised by his companions, in the most spiritual language possible, that God has delivered Saul into his hands and he should strike now and end the conflict for good. Both times (even more amazing the second time) he insisted:
“Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD’S anointed.” (24:6)
But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’S anointed and be without guilt?” David also said, “As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’S anointed…” (26:9-11)
The high regard he had for Saul, however, did not mean they were BFF’s (I’m so making fun of him for using BFF) after all of this. David remained out of Saul’s sight until his death, and only then did he pursue the kingship (another seven year struggle). Respect for position? Yes. Self-preservation? Absolutely.
Monica and I have been pretty conflicted about Simeon’s mother, especially in recent days (remember that really angry post I wrote?). In part, we’re conflicted about our own attitudes. Should we be more compassionate? Does our dedication to Simeon’s well-being require us to be aloof, unsupportive and unimpressed with her lack of progress? (For the record, “lack of progress” is not a cliche. She is, in fact, making the exact same decisions today that got her son taken away four months ago.) Should we be reaching out to her, conversing with her and encouraging her? How do the teachings of Scripture fit into our little world?
I think there is wisdom in I Samuel for our story. First of all, God gave Simeon to his mother – let’s call her Trixie (heh! As in turning trixie. Sorry. No, I’m not. *sigh* Yes I am.). As surely as God bestowed Kingship on Saul, Trixie was chosen above all other women to be Simeon’s Mother. Perhaps, like Saul, she messed up so bad that God has decided to strip her of her position as Mother to Simeon. Perhaps He has already chosen someone else to be Simeon’s mother and father. We do not know, nor should we. Like David, I believe we have two responsibilities in this matter: We will do nothing to harm, undermine or disrespect her position as Simeon’s Mother. Far be it from us to say that God made a mistake when he chose her. Second, we will do everything in our power to protect little Simeon from the consequences of her selfishness and her destructive behavior. I’m just not ready to extend our family’s vulnerability so far in the name of mercy and compassion. (Now I feel all warm and fuzzy for my man.)
All is not lost. We are not the only ambassadors of Christ in this situation. Trixie has a friend; all evidence suggests that she is a fervent Christian and that she is committed to Trixie and dedicated to standing by her side during this entire ordeal. This, then, is the Kingdom of God at work as I see it. We will shower love and support on Simeon during this season. Trixie’s friend will do the same for her. Perhaps a miracle (pft!) will yet happen and the process of reconciliation and reunification can begin.