Bitterness hardens your heart, darkens your world and impedes your freedom. It makes your world very small and gloomy. But the gift of forgives will change all that in an instant.
Psalms 23:5-6 – A Psalm of David
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
- Describe the scene that verse 5 sketches. Who is present?
- What is the state of the Psalmist in this portion of the Sheppard Psalm?
- What do you think the Psalmist would want the Lord to do with his enemies?
- David expects “goodness and mercy… forever” form the Lord. What does this passage suggest the Lord expects from David?
- In this context, what do you think does “prepare a table”, ”“anoint my head” and “cup runs over” mean?
Personal reflection and Application
In this scene the Lord brings David face-to-face in confrontation with his “enemies”, at a table prepared by the Lord, where there is abundant favour and grace. A table represents a peace meal.
Consider your life path, and especially the moments of hurt through betrayal, abuse, rejection, etc. The Good Sheppard knows that, to experience fullness of life requires a face-to-face encounter with these moments, and to make peace with the enemies who caused those hurts. That’s why he teaches us to pray “forgive us… as we forgive…”
- Ask the Lord to search your heart and bring to light any unresolved hurts. Write it down, and the people involved. Prayerfully reflect on those moments, the people, then articulate your emotions of the events and the consequences. [If it becomes too much, take a break but commit to see this through; perhaps even make an appointment with a Christian friend or counsellor].
- Pray for love and then – from your heart – express forgiveness for the people who caused you hurt “as God in Christ forgave us” (Eph 4:32). Pray until you feel a release of love.
- Bless these people who caused your harm: pray God’s goodness and loving favour upon them – because God is generous and good.
- Ask the Lord to heal your heart and bring his lasting peace.
Note: It might be helpful for yourself to write a letter to these people – even if you never intend to send it to them – where you express forgiveness and love to them. And it is always helpful to share this healing process with a Christian friend or small group.