Our lives changed in an instant. Out of nowhere; heartache, lies, betrayal and fear gripped our family tight and did not want to let go. I have always heard the saying “Your life can change in an instant.” I have never really known just how drastically that can happen. Someone we loved and cared for, someone we took in to our home and our life, stabbed us in the back and did not stay to clean up the mess. This someone instantly fled and did not look back.
To say I was shocked is putting it mildly. I walked in a living nightmare for weeks, as did my family. As anyone who loves knows, when someone messes with your family, defense mechanisms kick in. Well defensiveness does not come alone. He brings with him a suitcase full of anger, tears, fear and numbness. Every negative emotion that one can feel floods the soul. How dangerous that can be.
I was so angry at this person who attempted to destroy our lives. So angry at the one who trampled on my loved ones heart and attempted to smear their reputation. I wanted to let them have it and have it GOOD! One day I was searching God’s word for direction and His peace since I was not doing too well at getting by on my own. I ran across Matthew 5:44 (ESV) which says “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I need to admit that I knew this was not going to be easy. Praying for them was one thing, but love them, too?
A few days later I was sitting in church listening to my pastor speak on love. He made several references to God’s commandment for us to love one another. I buckled up, grabbed the pew and held my breath for what I knew God wanted me to hear. My pastor said “When we love God; loving others, even those who persecute us, becomes easier.” What a revelation to me. Of course, I love God. He is my friend and my Savior. Even over the past couple of weeks I never hated this person, but my feelings towards them were less than loving. It made me stop and evaluate the way that I was praying for them. Was it in a loving manner? No, I admit, it was not.
When I prayed for this person I continually prayed for their eyes to be opened to the heartache and tragedy they caused us. I prayed for them to reap the things they sowed in to our lives. I do not personally think that asking the Lord to open their eyes to see what they did is wrong. However, I realized that I was not trusting God’s word when He tells us “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19, ESV)
God plainly tells us that He will take care of those who have wronged us and that while He does that; we need to concentrate on loving them.
Leviticus 19:18 ESV ”You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
1 Peter 2:23 ESV / When he was reviled (hated), he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
When I walked out of the church that day, I felt more of a peace about the situation than I had in weeks. I knew God wanted me to hear His word that day and it is by no coincidence that my pastor spoke on love in all forms, even towards our enemies.
When we are wronged, it hurts. It cuts deep and the wound feels open and fleshy for a while. It seems that our minds resort to going over and over and over the hurt, the pain, and even replaying the incident. What God showed me further confirms His love for me. God wants us to love those who hate, hurt, and defile us because loving them produces great things.
1.It honors God. It shows Him we trust His word and we love Him.
2.It heals our wounds quicker. It takes the negative and replaces it with peace and positivity.
I am not sure that I will ever fully get to a place in my life where I will forget what happened. However, I am called to love them, pray for them and their salvation and forgive them. It is what God commands we do. He commands it because He loved us enough while we were still sinners to send His son to die for us. I had to learn that God made, loves and died for my persecutor, too. By loving God and obeying His word, I should have no problem lovingly praying for my persecutor.