Yes, I know, I need to love my enemies, bless them that curse me, do good to them that hate me, and pray for them which despitefully use me and persecute me. Matthew 5:44
When a person sins, and their sin causes me pain or loss: a,Who is sinned against? b. Who will reap the damage? c. Who stands to be blessed by their sin?
The answers are: a. God is sinned against (not I) Psalm 51 (all of it) b. The sinner will reap the damage. Galatians 6:7 c. Although I was impacted by their sin with pain or loss, I will be blessed or damaged only by my response to the sin. If I run to God for the grace to respond by blessing and doing good in return, then I will grow more like Christ and lay up treasure in heaven. If I go with the natural response, then I will be damaged by my sinful response not by their sinful choice. Hebrews 13:6 Matthew 10:28
Of course, doing this is difficult because it is hard for me to picture the proper words of blessing. Usually, godliness is the opposite of my natural inclination, so I could start with what my flesh really wants to say and figure out what the opposite would be. I could also go to the Word of God for examples. A good start would be Psalms 20 and John 17 and, if I may, I would like to share my paraphrase of it with you. It works whenever I want to get my mind off of myself and pray God’s blessing on anyone friend or foe.
First I need to get my own attitude together by remembering that they do not sin against me or reject me but they sin against you.1Samuel 8:7 I need to quit feeling sorry for myself and be burdened for their welfare by praying, “Father, forgive them, they don’t really understand what they are doing, and lay not this sin to their charge, but open the eyes of their understanding to see as you see and that they might see you. “Luke 23:34 and Acts 7:60
Then, I need to see persecution as a blessing. I even need to get to where I can rejoice and be exceeding glad, and even leap for joy for the privilege of being abused for Christ! As tortured Christians in Europe learned to love their torturers for pushing them closer to God and learned to seek the torturers salvation; I need to have the same mind as is in Jesus when he was abused. (Boy, Lord, you sure have a long way to take me to be there.)” Matthew 5:12, Luke 6:23
And now, time to pray for them:
(From Psalm 21)”Dear Lord, hear them when they cry out to you in their trouble. Jump in and defend them from their enemies, send them the help that they need in their struggles and give them your strength. Remember all the good efforts that they have done and see their good intentions. Grant them the desire of their heart and help them succeed in their plans. Fill them with the joy of your salvation and bring them to celebrate your goodness. When they plead with you for help, fulfill all their petitions. Teach them not to trust in themselves or their resources but to trust in you, oh Lord. “
(From John 17)”Help them to get to know you, keep and protect them, help them to be one with your people, fill them with your joy. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from evil in the world. Help them to dwell in your Word and let it separate them from the world as your truth transforms them. Send them into that evil world with a sense of purpose to build your kingdom and be your tools to bless others. May you dwell in them and they in you in perfect harmony. May they someday see your glory in heaven and feel the love of God the father dwell in them and flow through them, Amen” John 17
I challenge you to pray the above blessings and see if it does not bring peace to your heart and help you to see the other person as someone that God loves and wants to bless.
One reply on “PRAYING FOR THOSE WHO TREAT YOU POORLY”
Great post! I was always confused about that particular topic, but you made it much clearer. I especially like the sentence, “If I go with the natural response, then I will be damaged by my sinful response not by their sinful choice.” What a mind-bending thought! We naturally assume that we have the right to fight back when hurt.
I like the re-creation of the verses at the end (the blessings) and would like to make a habit of doing that concept with the readings I come across. Thank you for bringing this up to us.