If you are a church attender and a fair enough listener, I am very sure that the teachers, preachers, and pastors mentioned Absalom, King David’s son. If you are indeed a church attender, you’ll encounter one singular idea: that Absalom is the one who rebelled against King David, and at the process, was killed because of his rebellion. Aside from Lucifer, Korah, Miriam, and Aaron, Absalom was one of the characters illustrated on what rebels do and the consequences that fall into them. However, in order to understand how rebels are being groomed, let us try to read this character’s back story.
Let us try to summarize Absalom’s life before rebellion. The first mention of the Bible of Absalom happened in third chapter of the second book of Samuel. 10 chapters later, thirteenth chapter to be exact, he was mentioned again. He was described as long haired and blameless, meaning, in contemporary terms, he was smooth skinned and is very handsome. According to some Hebrew scholars, Absalom have big eyes, maybe to emphasize that he has strong personality. Prior to this description though, we can see in this chapter, that a family scandal happened: Tamar, Absalom’s brother, was raped by Amnon, their half-brother. In the twenty-first verse of that very same chapter, we can see that King David was “very wroth” when he heard the news, as described by the King James Version of the Bible. This means he was very, very angry, as wroth means “very angry”. As for Absalom, he just mentioned to Tamar to keep calm because Amnon is their brother. In other words, he mentioned let it go, but deep down, I assumed he is awaiting his father give justice for Tamar’s rape. However, no action was given. Yes, the Bible never mentioned that there was no action, but it never also mentioned that actions were made. Besides, Absalom even invited Amnon, which led to Amnon’s death. This means, not only injustice was made, but also Amnon has no shadow of guilt or remorse. After all, it was not mentioned that he is scared to be with Absalom, having been drunk. The rest is history; he rebelled to King David, and eventually killed by Joab in the process.
Let us notice these words: injustice and unapologetic attitude. These two breed rebellion. When injustice was made, and no actions were done against injustice, rebellion will definitely take place. A person whose anger is already in his heart due to feelings of injustice becomes angrier than before if the person or a group who did him wronged are scot-free. Well, we cannot blame wrong doers on that one somehow. No, I am not justifying rebellion. Let us call a spade a spade, the illegal or criminal actions of a rebel must be brought to justice. After all, law must never be put in our hands. Instead, I understand rebels where they are coming from. Inaction against injustices breeds rebellion on institutions. Sadly, these institutions rather focus on executing justice against rebels for their rebellious acts, and stop there. That is right, but what is missing is their concern. Rebels maybe wrong in their means, but they have their reasons why. Not because the approach is uncalled for doesn’t mean the content and reasons behind that are. We are no different from people witnessing a guy physically dragging his nagging wife or girlfriend out of the public scene, to the point of hurting her arm/s. True, guys must never do that. However, haven’t we considered that the guy just don’t want any more scandal? Haven’t we considered that the girl is wrong in her accusations to begin with (girls: intuitions are not right all the time)? Worse than that: haven’t we considered that the nagging girl is just making a scene, and, out of love, the guy felt the need to do that in order to drag her out from their embarrassment AND in order to bring her home? Yes, we shall never consider those angles plainly because the guy hurt the girl by dragging her out of the public scene. PERIOD. That is the same mindset on how we treat rebels, we give them tooth and nail treatment because their actions are wrong, and yet, we never made any actions on the basis of their complaints.
By the way, rebellion requires action. Hence, if a person complaining is not making an action against institutional leaders or organizations, that is not a rebellion. Even online dictionaries will tell you that rebellion requires effort, open opposition, and refusal to obey. These three requires actions (refusal is an act). Hence, when a person laid down his grievances to leaders, leaders must never feel that this person is automatically a rebel. By definition, this person is not yet a rebel.
In Christian churches, we abused the verse, “looking unto Jesus…” or we use words, which are really theologically questionable, like “let go, let God”. Most of the time, when we hear such words, the next move is inaction. After all, an action is somewhat deemed as hateful and unforgiving once you mentioned this verse from the book of Hebrews. Yes, there is no such thing as a perfect church. However, why mention these lines when rebels and sympathizers themselves no that there is no perfect person to begin with? Mentioning to a disgruntled person that there is no person church or perfect person is like saying, “shut up!” For crying out loud, we may even justify actions that even in millennial reign, a perfect God-administered government will still have rebels, so rebels are what they are, rebels. It is spine chilling because, if you are an institutional leader or part of that institutional leadership, you are comparing yourself and your institution to God Himself when you did just that.
When this behavioral system continues in an institution, never ever wonder why rebellion eventually happened in your institution. Never ever wonder. Inaction was made towards injustice. Worse than that, the one who received injustice. Frankly, my tendency when I encounter such is that I will never defend nor attack a person who becomes part of inaction towards injustice, regardless of his or her position in the institution. I will never be a part of further injustice called cover ups.
In my personal opinion, the leadership must take action against rebels when their prior complaints were already addressed, and yet they still did the same. In cases where rebellion or insurgency happens without knowing the reason or source of rebellion and insurgency, actions must still be made, but their root reasons must be determined. Yes, not all of them maybe legitimate, but we shall definitely learn from them. Put rebels to jail if they really did something criminal, BUT let their legitimate concerns be addressed. However, like I said, when the concern is already addressed and yet they want to do further, then, that act will solely be on their hands, no longer the leadership. (forgive me for illustrating church rules and policies very much. It’s because I can give more examples on something that I am near into).
I don’t write this because I am initiating rebellion. No I am not, and will never be. Instead, I am addressing those who were given the chance to lead. Not only them, I also address those who were the opportunity to serve and execute real justice. This is to remember social responsibility. This is to understand rebels, not to the level of justifying their actions, but to the level of having a broken hearted attitude that “something must be done”. Especially in the church setting, whenever you are in charge of the disciplinary action, do what must be done, but with a broken heart, not because you enjoy doing the action. You’re no different from sadist when you did just that.
Rebels and so called rebels have hearts too. I know leaders are too.