Especially during the holidays, we sometimes notice serious issues or problems in our family that we don’t want to admit or acknowledge. It’s painful, so we put our heads in the sand and live in the land of wishful thinking, instead of reality.
As I was reading in I Samuel today about the story of Saul, Jonathon and David, I was struck by Jonathon’s denial of how badly his father, Saul, wanted David dead. Saul was insanely jealous of David and tried on several occasions to take him out. I recommend that you read this dramatic story (I Samuel chapters 17 through 20.)
Jonathon loved David like a brother. They were so close and Jonathon didn’t want anything bad to happen to David. But he told David more than once, “My father would have told me if he was going to kill you. He tells me everything, but he hasn’t said a word about it, so I don’t think he’s going to do it. And I would have told you if I heard of any plans of killing you.” At one point, Saul even vowed not to kill David. But Saul wasn’t exactly a man of his word.
David wasn’t convinced that Saul didn’t want him dead. Having a spear thrown at him several times told him otherwise, and I’m sure that there were other behaviors that Saul exhibited that made David think twice about Saul. David finally convinced Jonathon that he needed to find out for sure if Saul was going to kill him. It’s at this point that Jonathon’s eyes were opened and he saw how fiercely his father wanted David dead and out of his life.
Thankfully, Jonathon was no longer in denial and giving David bad information. No more excuses for Saul’s behavior. No more believing that Saul had good intentions and that he’d keep his word. Saul had a track record of doing things his own way and being in denial himself (1 Samuel 15:3-15.) Because Jonathon finally saw the truth of the situation, he was able to help his dearly loved friend. He helped save his life.
Who can blame Jonathon for not wanting to believe that his own father wanted his best friend murdered? But his denial was putting his best friend at risk. Once he fought the urge to overlook the seriousness of the situation, and he looked for confirmation of the truth, he saw things as they really were. No more wishful thinking.