Have you ever tried to pray for a person that you dislike? You know, how the Bible says to pray for your enemies and all that? I walked through a lesson on this early in life. There was a mean girl who strongly hated me while we were in the 6th grade together. (We both liked the same boy.) “Jane” promised me that she was going to beat me up after school, so I had to have my mom pick me up every day for a week instead of walking home as usual.
My Mom had some advice that was as horrible as the torment I was enduring at school. She suggested I pray for Jane. WHAT?
As the days passed, Mom asked me if I was praying for Jane and I said yes but it was super hard because this girl was being so rude and cruel to me. She asked me to describe the girl to her and I thought that at last she was going to confront the girl and save me.
I described Jane’s dirty clothes, stringy hair and grouchy face. “Maybe she is jealous of your pretty dresses and nice hair. Maybe she doesn’t have enough money for the nice things you have. Do you think that might be why she hates you?”
That night my prayers for Jane were sincere and honest.
I know that my mom must have been already praying for Jane, and God had given her the wisdom to figure out the truth behind the torment. As I look back on this event and I consider the view from my mother’s perspective, I am not sure that my first response to a bully bothering my kid would be to pray FOR the kid. And maybe it wasn’t her first response. She probably had to go through the process to get to the point of wisdom that helped me get out of this scrape.
Because it did get me out of the situation. After praying for Jane a few more nights before bed, I got the idea to write her a letter. I really don’t recall what I said in the letter anymore. But the tone was one of offering friendship and something about her and the boy being a good match.
The next day she crossed out some of the words and showed it around, making it look like I said some stupid stuff in the letter. But I kept smiling at her whenever I saw her and a few days later I got a small smile back and I never did get beat up.
There is a reason I am telling this story. God pulls a bit of a ‘bait & switch’ on His children. When He instructs us to pray for our enemies or those who persecute us, He knows that we cannot keep hating them. So sneaky! As we bring this person to God and ask Him to help them, bless them and show Himself to them; our view of the person goes through a change.
We begin to see the person through the eyes of God.
You cannot keep hating the person if you are honestly praying for them. Not just about them.
This is going somewhere important. It is a departure from my normal blog post subjects. I hope you will come back tomorrow and read Part 2.