I’m Not Angry, I’m Just Ignoring You
Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. I Samuel 18:25
The other day, in the kitchen, my wife did something that bothered me a little. At the time, I was confident that my irritation was justified, so I turned on the cold shoulder. After a few minutes, she asked, “Is something wrong?”
I thought, Haha, she noticed! I’ve won a great victory! When she asked if something was wrong though, I responded as all manly men do in the same situation, “No. Nothing’s wrong. Why do you ask?”
Like Saul, in today’s passage, I am often unwilling to address the actual conflict. At the time, I always think I am justified in my irritation. Addiction isn’t only about drugs. As a me-addict, I must have my own way or else I become easily annoyed. Then, instead of actually dealing with the conflict – or more appropriately in this case, letting it go – I seek revenge through passive aggression.
King Saul, in today’s passage, harbored a jealous hatred of David, whose popularity eclipsed his. Saul did not directly address the conflict though. Instead, he pretended to be kind, offering his daughter in marriage. When David, the poor son of a poor man, realized he had nothing to offer the king as a dowry, Saul sprung his trap.
Saul made the grotesque and bizarre demand that David bring him the foreskins of 100 Philistines – Israel’s sworn enemies. Saul imagined that in doing so, he was sentencing David to death.
As strange as the story is, there is a lesson for me about my passive aggression. Like Saul, it is cowardly of me to avoid the actual problem. This is often because I know that my anger isn’t justified. My perceived offense, is usually just that – something perceived only by me. If I truly have a grievance, I should address it. More often though, I should just let it go. My irritation is usually that I’m just not getting my way.
If I don’t want to be passive aggressive, I must recover from my addiction to all-things-me, and in love, look to the interests of those around me.