"Diggin’ Up Bones" was a number one song by Randy Travis about a divorced man who, late one night, starts going through pictures and belongings of his former wife. He’s “exhuming things that’s better left alone.”
A photo of a young woman sitting alone on a bench looking out over an ocean had the caption “Often in life we forget the things we should remember and remember the things we should forget.”
There’s a tragic tale in the life of David that has to do with remembering and forgetting. When David’s son Absolom had raised a rebellion, David is forced to escape Jerusalem. As his disheartened group leaves the city, one of Saul’s relatives comes out yelling curses and throwing rocks at the fleeing king. David’s ever loyal warrior friend, Abishai, asks permission to go cut the man’s head off for cursing the king. But David responds with amazing restraint. He said that since his own flesh and blood son was trying to kill him, it was not that big a deal that a family member of the former king would hate him. Besides, David added, perhaps God had sent the man to curse the king and God would look at David with pity later on for having taken such insults. (2 Sam. 16)
David is later restored to power and in another amazing demonstration of apparent forgiveness, promised the cursing man that he was not going to kill him. But the story does not end here. On his death bed, David tells Solomon, his son, the succeeding king, to make sure the man who cursed him has a violent death. (1 Kings. 2:8-9)
David had not forgotten the insults of the past. The last words attributed to David before he died were the unflattering words of vengeance for a deed done long ago.
While the scriptures do not gloss over King David’s faults, he is certainly not the only one to have gone through life nursing a grudge. People often have long memories about the things others have done to hurt them or embarrass them. And from time to time it’s even possible we may draw some sort of dark satisfaction from “diggin’ up bones... exhuming things that’s better left alone.”
A final caution here must be noted. Besides the fact that holding a grudge hurts ourselves, there’s another very good reason why we should REALLY bury the past; the Lord said “... if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Mat. 6:15). “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy...” (Js. 2:13). Bury those old bones and leave them buried, forever.
- Tim Orbison