Friday, February 28, 2014

A Not So Divine Revelation

Submitted by Lara Cook

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."  Matthew 5:44

Sometimes getting those Divine Revelations and “AHA!” moments are not so fun.  Usually it is something we really already know, but sometimes in the great battles of life we lose sight of what is right and what is wrong, including the condition of our hearts and even the motives of our prayers.
We all have people in our lives that hurt us.  We have people in our lives that we would just like to see get what they deserve.  It is difficult not to have these feelings about people who are hurting us or others around us.  It may be hard to understand why God doesn’t seem to be punishing them.  It may be impossible for you to confront them for some reason, and especially to expect a positive result. 
As Christians this is a very challenging position to be in.  This could be a spouse, a son or daughter, or a sibling.  I am not just talking about acquaintances that you can avoid as you wish.  I am talking about flesh and blood, in your life, relatives.  How are we supposed to handle that kind of betrayal, keep our hearts right and focus our prayers where they are needed?  Our flesh wants to pray “Lord, just let ‘em have it!  They deserve it!”  This is how hurt can leave us feeling.  But this is not what God wants you to pray.  He does understand your hurt.  He knows your heart.  He sees your pain and what has happened to you has not gone unnoticed by Him.  As much as He understands, He tells us in Matthew 5:44 to pray for those who curse you, hate you, spitefully use and persecute you.  He loves you yes, but He loves them too.  He hurts for you and He hurts for them as well.  He wants the same good things for them that He wants for you.  You are both His children, a difficult thought to embrace. 

A Reason for the Season
It is essential to remember that God may have you right where you are for a reason.  He may be growing you through this trial and getting ready to use you in some way for His glory.  It is true that with God all things are possible, but that is only true for people who are willing to let the Holy Spirit work in their lives.  You can only control you.  You can’t control how another person acts or reacts.  As a result, pray for God to work on you. Shift the focus from fixing the other person to your own spiritual healing and growth.  Pray for God to reveal what He wants you to learn from this situation.  Ask Him to make your heart right towards the other person and to keep you from becoming bitter and discouraged.  Pray and release this situation fully to Him for His will to be fulfilled.  This is hard to do in such a situation, but it is not your job to fix other people, or even to pray for God to fix other people.  It is only your job to be obedient to God in your actions and response.  Also, remember to seek God and His will, whole-heartedly, on your knees in this pain.  Well-meaning friends and loved ones will give lots of advice but often they are reacting to the pain they feel when they see you hurt.  No one can seek and know God’s will for your life like you, even as hard as it may be to discern at times.

It is hard to love people through some things.  That does not mean that you have to continue to allow disrespectful or abusive behavior towards you and it does not mean that you have to cut them out of your life completely.  Remember to pray for this person rather than against them.  It may be part of your healing process as well. 

Scripture to Claim:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32 

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