King Saul is a much maligned figure in Christian circles because of his spiritual failure. This reflects an unfortunate truth about our strange relationship with the failure of others. We tend toward “schadenfreude,” a German word defined as deriving pleasure from another person’s misfortune. This “schadenfreude” grows from a self-righteous superficiality whereby we become experts at identifying the deficiencies of others while ignoring our own. I would like to replace this superficial “schadenfreude” with “Deep Spirituality,” which gives us the capacity to dig deeper and discover God anywhere, anytime, and through the experiences of anyone. This “anyone” includes King Saul, a man just like us, whose insecurities plagued him with persistent feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and loneliness.
Rather than condemning and distancing ourselves from Saul, we should study him with great empathy, understanding the inalterable truth that no matter how great our talent or resources, insecurity ignored will undermine us all.