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 And the king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who faint in the wilderness to drink.”  And the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.’”  Then the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” And Ziba said, “I pay homage; let me ever find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”
 When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed [David] continually…
 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”  But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’”  And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.  It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.”  So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust.
Look at this stark difference between slander and direct rebuke. Zika, the servant of Mephibosheth, is here to tell a story to David about how disloyal Mephibosheth is. The fact of the matter is that since he had great difficulty walking, there are 100 other possible motives that Mephibosheth might have for staying behind and no following David. We judge other’s actions by imagining their motives, usually without asking them.
Then Shimei comes out and throws rocks and dirt and curses David
Mephibosheth got cursed too. The difference is that Mephibosheth wasn’t around to respond. That’s the darkest evil of gossip and slander. The discernment of whether it is true or not is already down a few points when gossip happens because it would be near-impossible right now for David to confirm the truth of what Ziba said. For
I used to work with a director of a non-profit that often said, “If you need an answer right now, the answer is ‘no’,” to all of the urgent pleas that came before him. That built-in discernment time puts a freeze on panic, gossip, and fear. When you are receiving the curses directly, a pause in discernment helps you to give a more wise reaction to your accuser. The fast punch-in-the-face might stop the curses, but it won’t solve the problem.
As we curse others, and receive curses, and hear others cursing others that aren’t in our presence, let’s consider the wise way the Lord handled these things. He seldom talked about people that weren’t around to hear what He was saying, but when He did, it was honorable.