David told Saul the whole unvarnished truth; he told it to the person to whom it mattered most. Not to his comrades or to Saul’s friends or to the people of Israel but to Saul himself. He came to terms with the individual with whom there was the battle. Then he said, “May the LORD judge between you and me, and may the LORD avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you” (1 Samuel 24:12).
David wasn’t dangling his righteousness before Saul. David wasn’t built like that. He was a man of integrity. He said, “Saul, I could have taken your life, but I didn’t. And here’s the proof. When you were vulnerable, I didn’t strike. I will let God judge between you and me.”
Read Saul’s response slowly and thoughtfully:
Saul called back, “Is it really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been wonderfully kind to me today, for when the Lord delivered me into your hand, you didn’t kill me. Who else in all the world would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.” (1 Samuel 24:16–19 TLB)
Talk about a living example of the proverb, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” [16:7].
Now wait a minute. Let’s revisit reality. This is one case study. I wish I could promise you that when you do what is right, your enemy will always see the error of his ways this quickly and turn and repent and view you correctly, but I can’t make that kind of promise.
You’re responsible for telling a person the truth, but it is impossible to make him change his opinion. Frankly, that person may die believing the lie. But down inside your heart you will know the fulfillment of that sense of righteous dealings. Your conscience will be clear.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.