"My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!" —2 Samuel 19:1
David grieved deeply upon hearing of the death of his son Absalom, who had rebelled against him. However, the true grief of this situation is that it might have been prevented if David had a heart for reconciliation with Absalom a few years earlier.
A rift had occurred in David's family. David's son Amnon raped Absalom's blood sister Tamar. David took no action to deal with the situation; he simply "became very angry" (2 Sm 13:21). Is this a pattern parents repeat today, getting angry but not handling the root of the problem? Absalom was infuriated that his father did not handle this problem nor lead his family into reconciliation. So he took matters into his own hands and murdered his half-brother Amnon (2 Sm 13:23ff). Fearing his father's anger, Absalom fled to another country for three years. David longed to reach out to Absalom, but again, failed to take practical action (2 Sm 13:39; see also 2 Sm 14:13). Absalom eventually returned to Jerusalem, but his father David would not condescend to see him for two more years (2 Sm 14:21-28). Finally, Absalom was admitted into the presence of his father, who merely "kissed him," but again did nothing — no heart-to-heart, father and son talk (2 Sm 14:33). That was the last straw for Absalom.
Sadly, David had multiple chances to reconcile his family, but did not try. All he was left with was inconsolable grief for his dead son, his broken family, and the loss of 20,000 soldiers.
Is there a situation today that you can reconcile? Jesus commands: "Lose no time" (Mt 5:25).
Prayer: Lord, may the hearts of the fathers and mothers be turned to their children and vice versa (Mal 3:24; cf Lk 1:17).
Promise: "It is your faith that has cured you." Mk 5:34
Praise: Jacob prays daily for reconciliation between his sons.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 8, 2019
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