2 Samuel 6:20-23
Yesterday we sought to understand Michal’s bitterness, noting that David took her from her marriage to serve his political purposes. She hates this king. We understand and despise with her the injustice and cultural oppression that led to her pain. We do not blame her for David’s sin and are sympathetic when she lashes out at him in today’s verses. But we hope that in some way Saul’s daughter knew more than bitterness for the rest of her life. Scripture, however, offers a subtle, disheartening postscript to her story: And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death (v. 23).
Contemplative teacher Richard Rohr often reminds us, “If we don’t transform our pain we will transmit it.” Everyone carries some of this fallen world’s pain and consequence. Some carry more than their fair share. All that is held and hidden hurts us; often it hurts those around us. All brokenness or sin has consequences in the world. It all ripples. It’s all transmitted until it’s transformed, healed.
The central saving belief in the Christian faith is that God comes into the midst of life to redeem life. In Christ, God asserts that all things might be healed. This prominent teaching from first-century theologians was the way they first understood God’s incarnation and our salvation. Gregory of Nazianzus insisted, “The unsummed is the unredeemed.” In Christ, who came and lived and died in a vulnerable human body, God heals us and the world.
But we can’t ignore human agency. When injustice and evil cause our pain, when no forgiveness has been sought and no reconciliation attempted, it’s hard to consent to God’s healing. Bitterness appears to be Michal’s only option, but she deserves to dance too.
What is the relationship between healing and forgiveness? What does it take to transform the world’s pain?
God who heals, teach us how to bring our pain to you so that you can make us strong in our brokenness. Amen.