A mother weeps for her son, killed in battle. The scene is played out over and over in the city where this woman lives – mothers grieving their sons as they hear the news that their young warriors are dead, slain on the battlefield as their army defends their homeland, their way of life, their freedoms.
This mother is special, however. Her son was a champion – a warrior chosen for a special mission. Her son knew the danger and he rushed in – perhaps brashly, perhaps with too much bravery, and too little thought. He died defending what he believed in. He died a hero in the eyes of his fellow soldiers – and in the eyes of his mother.
That mother would never see her son again. She would never hear his laugh. She would never fix him another hearty meal and see his smile and hear his sigh of satisfaction when the meal was done. She would never be able to again hear his voice or speak his name, unless it was to remember him.
She heard the story of how bravely her son had fought – and how heartless his opponent had been – slaying him with a simple weapon – a sling of all things! But, the worst of the story they had tried to keep from his mother – that the beast who killed her son had taken his head as a trophy.
“Goliath!” she wept, as she grieved over the headless body of her son.
The classic David and Goliath story is always told with a clear hero and a clear villain – but isn’t it always a matter of perspective? To the Philistines, Goliath is the hero – defending his people to the death, just as David was prepared to die for his own people.
In slaying our Goliaths, in running roughshod over people we perceive as being in our way, we can turn from being the good guy, to being a bully in our own right. It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? To the Philistines, David is the bully, not Goliath.
The lesson we avoid learning in the story of David and Goliath is this – how often are we seen as the bully in someone else’s life – even as we are seen as the hero in our own? The real lesson of David and Goliath then is to be careful about choosing sides, because there’s always going to be someone who will see you as the mean bully – even if you think you’re the hero.
Here’s the question to consider: Do we always have to violently slay Goliath to defeat him, or does true victory for everyone come only when we learn how to play nice, and become true peacemakers instead of violent warriors?