David's lament over both Jonathan and Saul's life catches us off guard. We'd expect the grief David expresses about losing his friend Jonathan, but his enemy Saul? What we see in 2 Samuel 1.17-27, is a man who has chosen to not just be angry, but also compassionate in his expression of grief.
Both anger and grief are emotions we feel when we don't like what is.
Learning from David's example, grief seems a better starting point for expressions of compassion. In our modern world, we'd rather be mad than sad, yet it is almost impossible to be kind when you are purely angry.
Try this with something you are angry about: once you've worked out why you're angry, exploring being sad.
- What does your anger give you? (i.e. why might you want to be angry instead of letting yourself feel other emotions?)
- What is sorrowful (sad) about the situation?
-Empathize with the other people involved. (Put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to imagine what it's like to be them.)
-Express your sadness. Be like David and cry about it! Speak it out! Invite someone to speak it with you!
-Consider and try to empathize with your "enemy"/the antagonist of the thing you are angry about (i.e. the person you think is responsible). How does this change what you want to pray?
- Check your heart for compassion.
-In prayer, ask God to become part of the situation. What do you imagine God would say, feel, and do?
How might your "enemy" answer this same question?
-What Scriptures come to mind?
-Mirror your response to what you think is the godly way forward.
We can (and perhaps often should) be both angry and sad. It is being able to identify and express both emotions healthfully that allows us to find God's compassion.