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  • Writer's pictureJamie Holden

April 20 Bible Reading Plan

“I don’t want to!”

These were the words I spoke to God after He gently reminded me how a godly man responds to someone who has hurt them or done them wrong.

I was fresh off of a painful encounter in which someone I thought was a friend exploded at me, screaming all kinds of false and hurtful accusations accompanied by threats to me and my ministry.

I was stunned, hurt, and in shock. But even more, I was angry! My carnal side was kicking in, and I wanted to get even with this person and make them feel the same pain they had caused me.

I was venting to God all the things I wanted to say and do to this person and a few ideas I had of how God could punish them for how they were treating me. I had reached a boiling point when God nudged me that I wasn’t being a godly man and that I needed to change my heart and forgive them.

I’ll be honest, I was annoyed because I knew God was right. I couldn’t change how they acted, but I needed to change my attitude. I had to forgive.

I knew what I had to do.

First, I asked God to forgive me for my awful attitude. Next, I asked Him to help me forgive them for the pain they caused. I asked God to change my heart and help me forgive them.

Instantly, my hurt changed, right? NOPE! Over the following days, I still felt angry about the situation. I couldn’t talk to the person because they told me never to contact them again. But I knew I had to call out the big guns to get over the pain and unforgiveness.

What did I do? I followed Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:

You have heard the law that says, “Love your neighbor” and hate your enemy.

 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  

But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 NLT)

I love how the Message translations state the last verse:

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

I knew I had to grow up and be the bigger adult. I had to pray for them. That's when I said the words I started this chapter with…"I don't want to!"

I didn't want to pray for them. But I knew it was what had to happen if I was going to heal.

Praying for someone whom we need to forgive is like putting healing ointment on your wound. As you pray, God is using your prayer to not only change that person, but He's using it to heal your heart.

So, I decided that for my own good and healing, I would pray for them. Do you know what I prayed? I prayed that they wouldn't go bald! Awful right? But it was all I could bring myself to pray for them in my pain. But for a few days, I prayed faithfully that they would have a thick head of hair.

After a few days, I could pray more important prayers, like praying that their family would be healthy and that God would bless them. It took a few days, but I got there, and slowly my heart healed.

Guys, there is a reason Jesus commanded us to bless those who despitefully use us. We need to obey and follow this pattern.

Ask God to bless the person, provide for their needs, and help them become all He wants.

I believe that one of the reasons God commands us to do this is because, in time, it is hard to feel hate and unforgiveness while praying for the person's good.

We need to make praying for our enemies a part of what we do, not just for our benefit, but for theirs.


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