David respected Saul, even although he had been trying to kill him.
They were together in life and in death.
They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions.
With Saul now dead, and his son and heir Jonathan dead too, it would have been all too easy for David to claim the throne in a triumphant fashion. But no, that was not his nature. He set to and wrote a song extolling their virtues, and insisted that the people learned it. (v 18) It is this respect for Saul that I find quite extraordinary. Here was a man who seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time pursuing David with murderous intent and yet of whom David could say ‘How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! ‘.
I was reflecting on this attitude in the context of modern politics, how embittered and confrontational a number of politicians (not all!) seem to come across. David was able to separate Saul’s antagonism from the positive virtues of his reign as King. This is vital in our relationships with those who hold very different views to our own. ‘THEY’ might seem difficult – whatever they do – and of course, we are not. ‘WE’ are reasonable, normal, rational people. How hard it is to take a long, hard look at the other person’s virtues and achievements. Yet this is one aspect of caring about, or caring for, other people. Over the years I read countless reports in school on children that emphasised failure; ‘He never did his homework’, or ‘She was always talking in class’ and then missed the opportunity of saying something positive about the student.
Let’s not miss the positives in the lives of others: genuine caring embraces the whole person.