Everyday Grace, God's Deep Love

Decisions, Decisions

I had to make a decision this morning.

Not a wear or hair decision, but a heart and attitude decision.

And this decision took place in the shower, as all good decisions do.

You see, someone had hurt someone close to me. And this someone had hurt them right where it hurts, at the core of who God made them to be.

And I was angry. I’ve spent the past evening and now, waking hours, thinking about this person who threw the emotional dart. Thinking that they should know better. Thinking that they should DO better. Thinking that their whole perspective on the world needs a shift and by gum, someone needed to say something.

I know that person isn’t me but what temptation to think that person into submission and repentance.

Pray for those who persecute you.

Nope (accompanied by vigorous soap wielding)

Pray for those who persecute you.

(raised eyebrow in acknowledgement and skepticism)

But then I started thinking.

Why did Jesus call us to pray for those who persecute us?

Because they need it.

Because the lack of understanding and lashing out doesn’t come from a place of God’s peace.

Because the maneuvering and manipulating doesn’t come from a place of Spirit-led relationship.

Because prayer for the persecutor does as much for me as it does for them.

Because I need it.

Lifting up another person before God, on their behalf, is a way of focusing the entire situation on God, who is the healer and making-right of all things.

Because in order for this situation to be resolved in a way that brings unity and not destruction and division, I must lay my feelings and perceptions before God so that he can sort them out in his wisdom.

And as I offered up my mind and heart for Spirit cleansing, I began to see things in a new light.

That hurt comes from hurt.

That lashing out comes from the feeling of sinking sand beneath the feet and the grasping hand reaches out for purchase in the face of change.

That sympathy and pity should be my approach.

That we all need God in such deep ways.

The persecuted can quickly become the persecutor if our responses aren’t taken to the Throne and Cross.

Unreflected responses can do more damage than good.

Praying for our persecutors puts the blame where it really lies, into the spiritual realm from where it originates. The non-flesh and blood that works on flesh and blood.

So we pray for the persecutor so we don’t become the persecutor.

We pray for the persecutor because they are persecuted in ways we can’t see.

We pray for the persecutor to put ourselves in a place of submission to God, for his insight, filter, and lessons as we process this situation together.

We pray for the persecutor because on the Cross, Jesus prayed for his.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:43-45a