"My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away" (Psalms 38:11).


                Why are our loved ones moving away from us?  The reason is because we are moving away from God.  Among the books I'm reading these days is Eugene Peterson's “Leap Over a Wall.”  There is a chapter about David and his son Absalom in the book.  As I was reading that chapter, the Lord gave me some precious understandings.  One of them was that when David didn’t truly forgive his son Absalom, David refused to see him even though he brought him to the royal palace (2 Sam. 14:24, 28).  In other words, David didn't really forgive Absalom who murdered Amnon.  So even after he allowed Absalom to return to the palace, he never tried to meet Absalom or let him come to him.  In a word, David kept Absalom away.  Although Absalom, the son who wanted to be accepted by his father David and who wanted personal forgiveness from his father David, David refused to accept Absalom and forgave him impersonally.  What a miserable relationship between father and son?  

But this isn’t just the problem between David and Absalom in the Bible.  Look at our marital relationship.  Look at the mother-daughter relationship.  Looking at these relationships alone, how many family relationships are becoming more and more distant as David has kept Absalom away?  What is the problem?  The Bible says it is a sin.  The problem of relationships is the sin of not forgiving, the sin of refusing to be forgiven, that is the sin of moving far away from God.  Because of that sin, there is no rest in our hearts (Ps. 38:3), and we have no choice but to carry heavy burdens in our hearts (v. 4).  Furthermore, our sins stink (v. 5) eventually causes “My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off” (v. 11).


Then, how can we smoothly restore human relations, such as our marital relations, the father-son relations and the mother-daughter relations?  We should pray to God like David: “Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me” (v. 21).  David was eventually abandoned by Absalom.  Eventually, Absalom tried to kill his own father, David.  Then David fled to the wilderness, and three things are restored: humility, prayer, and lovingkindness (Peterson).  In short, David restored his self-worth (‘Davidness’) while he was suffering in the wilderness.  As he humbly prayed to the Lord in the wilderness, the Lord came near to David and restored his love for Absalom.  So David instructed his army generals not to kill Absalom (2 Sam. 18:5).  But Joab killed Absalom.  When David heard this news, he wept and cried with sorrow: “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (v. 33)

Before it's too late, we need to restore our distant marital relationship, father/mother and child relationship, relatives and friends, etc..  In order to do so, I hope and pray that we, who seek beautiful relationship in the eyes of the Lord, must recognize our own sinfulness of being away from the Lord and humbly pray for repentance and give true forgiveness with His love.




With a humble prayer to the Immanuel Lord for the fruit of love,




James Kim

(As I taste the joy of forgiveness and of confession)