I am going to be very honest here. I have had this on my heart for awhile now and yesterday, the reality of it all came to a sudden crashing halt as I realized just the kind of woman I tend to become when I am hurt.
I don't pray for my enemies. Or really for those who I feel have wronged me or my family.
In fact, I seek to find revenge, list all the things that they do wrong when they dare to point out my indescretions and write them off as someone who is unworthy of prayer or encouragement. I found myself thinking this way about someone in particular yesterday and it startled me. I literally felt as if the Lord grabbed my heart out of my chest and thrust it in front of the mirror so that I could see the ugliness that was trapped and buried inside there. It wasn't a pretty sight. I was disgusted and abhorred by the fact that I, a pastor's wife, could be capable of feeling such animosity towards someone and not think twice of it.
Praise Him that He revealed it to me.
It all started when Dan called me this morning about an important duty that we had been neglecting. Really, I am glad he called because it needed to be addressed but I felt bad for him since he was the one who had to deal with it and bear the brunt of the consequences. I didn't like the fact that my husband felt irresponsible and like a failure in a certain area. My husband works hard. He works very hard and I take it so personally when someone doesn't realize just how hard he works and yet he is criticized. Of course criticism and correction come with the territory and that I should ready to accept it when it comes as long as it lines up with God's word.
But for some reason that doesn't keep me from thinking ugly thoughts about the person who says them.
So last night I had to submit those thoughts to the Lord in prayer and ask for His forgiveness. And then I did something I hadn't done in a long time for this person. I prayed for them. Even though I was hurt, even though I was angry and I didn't really feel like bringing this person to the Lord….I had to do it. It was the Lord directing my words and my heart to pray for this person.
This isn't always the easy thing to do. Who am I kidding. This is the HARDEST thing a person can do sometimes.
This verse really reminds me that in order to have peace with self and often with others…we must kneel before our Father and leave it all at His feet:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Phil 4:6)
This verse is often applied to the worries of our life and struggles and this is very true. But I feel that this verse can also apply to when we feel any anxiousness, weariness or animosity towards individuals. Lay it all at His feet.
How can my mouth confess to know and love the Lord yet I harbor angry feelings towards someone in my heart and on my lips?
"With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God."
Does that send shivers down your spine? How easily we can be influenced by our feelings towards an individual…we praise our heavenly Father one minute and yet speak evil about someone in another minute.
As James says…This cannot be.
So I am working on my tongue. And my heart. It isn't an easy thing to do, but I know that God will be honored and I want to obey Him and enjoy fellowship with Him. I do not want this sin in my life to keep me from a deep, loving and passionate relationship with the One who saved my soul from certain death. I hope and pray that for those who struggle with the same thing, this is your prayer as well.