These three chapters in 2 Samuel could be a full-length feature film. A king at war with his son, betrayal on all sides, spies hiding, evil consul, an epic battle, more betrayal, and heartbreak.

It’s exhausting just keeping the characters straight.Who are the good guys? who are he villains? what is right? what is wrong? Real life just isn’t that easy to categorize. The line between heroes and villains is difficult to delineate.

Was Absalom a villain? Was David the villain? Winston Churchill said that “History is written by the victors.” I would agree except, at the end of this battle, David did not consider himself a victor.  Why? Because he did not see his opponent as a villain, he saw him as his son. Would that we all looked at opponents in this way.

There have been many times this year in my life that I have been wronged. (You too, I’m sure.) Each time, I saw myself as the “good guy”. Just give me a white hat and white chaps while I ride my white pony, why don’t you? Across the tumble-weed strewn street was my opponent (probably somebody who offended me and talked badly about me) wearing their natural bad-guy garb complete with five-o’clock shadow and cigar in gritted teeth. Whatever the problem, I was against them. Duh, they were the villain. I had to be the victor. They were all in black and I was in all white.

Except. That’s not how God sees that battle. You see, there are no villains. There are no people in all black and, much to my surprise, no people in all white. We are not heroes and villains pitted against one another, but brothers and sisters.

Even though wrong is wrong and right is right, the things we do are separated from the person we are. People are not evil, though their choices may be. David got this. Absalom was not evil. He chose evil and allowed himself to be counseled to do evil, but his death was not celebrated by David. David mourned the loss of his son. He did not rejoice over the victory of this opponent.

We are called to love one another, not to put labels on one another. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us: 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Let’s choose to love today. Let’s expect the best. Let’s rejoice with truth. Let’s keep going. Let’s encourage each other. In doing so, evil cannot prevail!