Ham Yong… that is a Hokkien term to describe a person who’s humble enough to take it when people hurled insults at him. It means to be patient and meek – not angry and not weak either. In Mandarin, it’s 修养 ability to control oneself; the virtue of patience; self-restraint.
A person’s response to negative remarks or criticisms tells a lot about the character of that person. King David was such a character indeed! In 2 Samuel 16:5 David was cursed by Shimei, a relative of his former enemy Saul – who died already.
The curse: v.6-8
1) Physical assault: stones were thrown at David.
2) Verbal assault: David was accused of being a murderer (killing Saul, which he did not. David did not kill Saul even when he had the chance because he did not want to kill God’s appointed king.). Shimei called him a scoundrel. He said it was God’s due punishment for David and he’s doomed to ruin and betrayal of his son.
David was the king. How did he feel when someone cursed and threw stones at him?
Abishai’s response: v.9
Abishai, David’s general responded in the same vein that the enemy treated David: verbal assault – calling Shimei – dead dog; and physical assault… Abishai wanted to cut off his head! Would it not be one’s natural response to just let Abishai give Shimei a dose of his own medicine.
Instead, David’s response: v.10-13
To Abishai, David said: Mind your own business.
These thoughts went through David’s mind:
1, If the cursing is from the Lord, who can question God? Who are you and I to object? v.10
2) If my son is trying to kill me, how much more the relative of my enemy? Let him curse for ‘The Lord has told him to’. v. 11
3) If the Lord will take pity on me, He will keep his promise to me and restore my kingdom to me. v. 12
When troubles come, what thoughts come to my mind? Do I see God’s hand in all things? Am I willing to accept it from His hand? Do I hold firmly to His goodness, His compassion that He will take pity on me and that He always keeps his promise to see me through?
Good thoughts bore positive actions and results:
1) David went on his way – even while the cursing and stone-throwing continued. v. 13
2) David exhausted at their destination but even so refreshed himself. v.14
David did not stop – he travelled on till he reached his destination. It was a natural consequence to feel tired – and even exhausted – who would not – with physical, mental, emotional attack all the way?! But because his thoughts were of God, he refreshed himself.
What about me? How do I respond when people hurl stones of criticisms at me? Do I throw some stones back? Do I have my general (my allies) resolve the problem for me? Do I think I do not deserve this? Do I go on with what I’m doing? Do I find renewal and refreshment at the end of the difficult journey? Who is in my thoughts defines how I respond. Is God in them?