#116: 4 Types of People to Watch Out for in a Crisis

Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain except, death and taxes.” With all due respect to Ben, I would add “crisis” to that list of things we can be certain of at some point in our lives.


We are at our most vulnerable when in the midst of a crisis.  We are prone to denial, indecisiveness, procrastination, and a host of other physiological, psychological, and spiritual issues.

It is precisely at this time when we are in the midst of crisis, that we need to be on the lookout for those who would attempt to use our problems for their own selfish gain.

In my study of 2 Samuel 16, I ran across four different types of characters who took advantage of King David when he was in the midst of a crisis, and I realized that I’ve run across all four in my business career. My bet is that they will look familiar to you as well.

Set the Scene

David’s son, Absalom, decided he wanted to be king. He started gathering followers and gained enough strength to challenge David’s army. David, in fear of Absalom, fled the city with his people journeying toward the wilderness.

Character #1 – The Opportunist

Ziba, who was the servant of Mephibosheth (Jonathan’s son), met David in the wilderness with some food and wine. He told David that Mephibosheth stayed in Jerusalem in hopes of restoring his grandfather, Saul’s, kingdom. Ziba was trying to take advantage of the situation David was in, and it worked. David turned all of Mephibosheth’s property over to Ziba.

Lesson for Us. David should have suspected Ziba. After all, David is the one who restored Mephibosheth, cared, protected, and provided for him. David’s decision was based on Ziba’s word alone, with no assurance that Ziba had told him the truth. Look out for the opportunists.

Character #2 – The Blamer

Shimei, a man from the house of Saul, met David in the city of Bahurim. Shimei blamed David for the destruction of Saul’s family and the nation of Israel.  He was upset because he had lost status when Saul’s family fell out of power, and he blamed David for it.

Lesson for Us. Don’t be surprised in the middle of your crisis if someone from the past steps forward to blame you for something that happened to him or her. They may call you names, lie about you, or disparage your credibility. Be ready for the blamers.

Character #3 – The Avenger

When Shimei confronted David, Abishai’s response was to ask David for permission to cut off Shimei’s head. He wanted to avenge David’s honor right then and there, and he wanted to take drastic action. David wisely said no, not wanting to act impulsively, he thought perhaps the Lord had told Shimei to confront him.

Lesson for Us. There may be those that stand beside us in times of crisis who will come to our defense. That’s admirable, but we need to make sure that any action we take is not taken out of revenge. Be temperate and thoughtful when making decisions in the midst of a crisis.

Character #4 – The Traitor

Ahithophel had been David’s trusted counselor.  But as Absalom gained power Ahithophel turned traitor when he joined Absalom as his counselor. Then he plotted to help Ahithophel destroy David.

Lesson for Us.  There may be those who are with you right up until the crisis erupts. They may desert you thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fight. Be mindful of trusted friends and counselors who may be tempted to defect and leave you in the dust.

Like death and taxes, a crisis is bound to be part of our life journey. There’s not much you can do about them. Try as you might you can’t prevent them all. So when a crisis comes your way watch out for the opportunist, the blamer, the avenger, and the traitor.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you suffered through a personal or business crisis in which you had to deal with an opportunist, an avenger, a blamer, or a traitor?

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Category: Personal Development | Self-discipline


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