How thankful would you be if someone you’ve hurt chose to pray for you? Even while they’re still dealing with the pain you caused them? What would it mean to know they were lifting you up daily to their heavenly Father?
And what about us? How often do we pray for those who hurt us?
Luke 6:28 (ESV) says, “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” This is tough to read, much less obey. Now let’s read the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition: “Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you].”
Doesn’t this seem like an impossible – yet incredible – command from Jesus?
“Impossible” because the hurt is still so raw. The injustice can’t be undone.
“Incredible” because it’s an extraordinary response to injustice. A Jesus-kind-of response. Do we have the kind of walk with God that makes it possible for us to respond in this way?
In other words, do we trust God’s love for us enough to sincerely pray for the happiness of those who insult, take advantage of or mistreat us? Or are we too afraid to trust Him with our pain? Our anger? Our hunger for justice? If we’re honest, wouldn’t we prefer to pray for our enemies to suffer – at least as much as we’re suffering?
When someone behaves in a mean-spirited manner toward us, it can suck us into an emotionally and spiritually dark place. Hatred and unforgiveness – not to mention the physical or financial repercussions we now have to deal with – disrupts our lives on many levels. The resulting destructive spiral can be more devastating than the offense done against us.
Once we’re caught in this downward spiral, we’re trapped. Unless … we apply Jesus’ words and pray for those who have devastated us – the ones who least deserve but most need our prayers. And while it’s sometimes necessary to separate ourselves from physical or mental abuse, we’re still called to pray for our abusers.
We can trust our heavenly Father to know what to do with our prayers, even when we pray for the happiness of the person who mistreated us. Furthermore, we benefit when we obey God. As we continue to pray for those who have hurt us, God often uses our obedience to heal our emotions and release us from painful memories.
And when we allow our heavenly Father to lead us in this impossible, incredible, Jesus-kind-of
response, imagine what a witness it will be to the one who offended us – and to anyone who knows about the wrong done to us.
It will be life-changing.
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. You can reach her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com