Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” -2 Samuel 2:26 (NLT)
Standing at the top of a hill, Abner is trying to get Joab’s attention, to speak truth to his heart. While Abner previously escaped from Joab and his men, Asahel (Joab’s brother) chased after him. Abner asked Asahel to stop chasing him and to chase someone else, but he didn’t. Abner killed him in self defense. Joab heard the plea of Abner and it seems for a moment that he recognized the truth, so he stopped chasing him. But the hurt, anger, and pain he felt consumed his thoughts and heart until bitterness and revenge set in. Later in 2 Samuel Chapter 3, Joab killed Abner.
Hurt, betrayal, murder, abuse, mistreatment, discrimination, and all the many other forms of unjust, undeserved circumstances and situations seem to automatically approve not forgiving, speaking harshly about the person or situation, seeking revenge, malice, anger, avoiding a person, and even trying to hurt someone.
I can personally understand how Joab may have felt because I once allowed bitterness and revenge to consume me. I soon got tired of seeking my own justice (which didn’t justify anything). I was only hurting myself.
Once we fully surrender our anger and emotions to God, we can finally experience a sense of true FREEDOM….spiritually, mentally, and emotionally! Through the Bible and the teachings at my church, I’m also learning that God extends His mercy and grace to each of us and we should also be willing to extend the same mercy back to others…by letting go and forgiving!