Saul was jealous of David. He hated him with a passion. He threw a javelin at him, on two different occasions, attempting to kill him. He hired hit men to take David out. Saul spent a lot of his time as king of Israel seeking to destroy David from the face of the earth.
David, in turn had spent a lot of his time running from Saul. He climbed mountains. He hid in caves. His life had become consumed with outsmarting Saul and his men.
Saul was worn out. He and three thousand men had searched for David all day. He entered into a cave for rest. Unbeknownst to him, David was in that same cave, in the shadows. Saul fell asleep. David’s opportunity for revenge had presented itself. His men urged him on. Now was his chance.
But David wouldn’t kill Saul. He cut off a piece of his garment to show Saul that he could have. But he didn’t. His reason: He didn’t want to kill the man anointed of The Lord.
David could’ve avenged himself. He might have felt relief and satisfaction for a while. But David knew that those feelings wouldn’t last with him the way that guilt for going against God would. By not returning evil with evil David was able to stay free of the burden of guilt, free from regret and free from sorrow.
Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, bless the people that curse us, do good to those hate us and to pray for the ones that persecute and despitefully use us. Not because that’s what they deserve. But because Jesus wants what is best for us. He doesn’t want His children to carry hatred in their heart, to be found always trying to avenge themselves. Instead He wants us to lay down our fleshly instincts and to let Him handle the situation.
The teachings of Jesus may at times seem restricting and unfair. But in reality Jesus’ teachings are always freeing and He is always just.