What if David had ordered Abishai to kill Saul? He certainly would have felt justified in doing so, for Saul would have done the same, given the opportunity. But how much bloodshed would have followed? An army of three thousand surrounded him. It is unlikely that David or Abishai would have survived. Then his allies back home would likely have been driven to avenge their deaths. Meanwhile. The new leader Saul’s army would lead them to avenge the death of their king by killing or imprisoning all those who had allied themselves David. And so on. Only mercy can defeat retribution. Jesus teaches the Golden Rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31), but immediately takes it one step further, telling his disciples to “love your enemies and do good to them, but to actively do kind things for them. This is a countercultural now as it was then. It asks us to look at our enemies as God does, with mercy and love. None of us is sinless, immune from judgment or condemnation. How often have we seen a public figure denounce a person or a group or heard a friend bad-mouth someone else? Let us realize that the reverse could happen just as easily. Our challenge is to reconcile with those we want to condemn, giving others the mercy God gives us. Paul knows intimately what it’s like to receive God’s mercy. He had persecuted Christians before his conversion and was on his way to Damascus to imprison more of them. Had he be struck dead, it would have appeared destined. But God did not return violence with violence. Paul went on to become the premier apostle of the faith among the Gentiles. Paul reminds the Corinthians that we all bear the image of God’s creation, from Adam to Christ. As Adam was given life by God, Christ gives life to those with his spirit within them. Children of Adam, we look forward to bearing the image of Christ. (Casey, Most Reverend Robert G. Pastoral Patterns. World Library Publication, 2021).