There’s something within the human condition that seems to enjoy seeing others fail, especially if those who fail were previously successful. For instance, we might celebrate seeing a top sports team fall from their lofty perch after a long period of success. About time too, and other phrases come to mind.

So it is when we read about Saul—the man chosen as king over Israel and anointed by the prophet Samuel. Later we see him fall from grace, make mistakes, and come to an inglorious end (1 Samuel 31:8-9). “Serves him right!” “He got it wrong and got what he deserved!” Such comments are common today in Christian circles. But look at how differently the men of Jabesh-gilead saw things. They heard of Saul’s death, and all the valiant men went out, at considerable risk, and took down his body so that he could be buried properly (1 Samuel 31:11-13). They showed him enormous respect even in death; they honored him.

Why? We find the answer when we read 1 Samuel 11:1-13 and see that it was Saul who came to the rescue of the besieged and hopeless people of Jabesh-gilead. It was he who commanded those who could fight to rally around him and go out to defend the people. The Scripture says, “The Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul” (1 Samuel 11:6).

And they never forgot him. They remained grateful and honored the man who had rescued them, even though he later got it wrong. Now that’s class! We could all learn from their behavior. For it’s so easy to condemn those who fall away, who don’t stay the course. But God reveals that no matter what happens to people, we should always do the honorable thing and remember the good rather than pointing fingers at their failings. In doing so, we honor Him.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 11:19-29