How would we feel if someone we’ve hurt chose to pray for us – while they’re still dealing with the pain we caused them?
Think how their gesture could change our lives on so, so many levels.
I’d like to challenge us to do this for those who have hurt us – even when the memory of the event still brings tears to our eyes.
I’ll warn you. This week’s verse is tough to consider, much less obey, especially if you’re being abused. Nevertheless, we’re still called to pray for our abusers – even when it’s necessary to separate ourselves from physical or mental harm. I’ve experienced abuse, which is probably why I have learned to appreciate Luke 6:38 so much.
Luke 6:28 (ESV) says,
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Now let’s read this verse in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:
Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you].
Does this seem like an impossible command from Jesus?
Impossible because the hurt is still so raw and the injustice can’t be undone?
It’s also an incredible command because it’s an extraordinary response to injustice. A Jesus-kind-of response.
Do we have the kind of relationship with God that makes it possible for us to respond in this impossible, incredible way?
Do we trust God’s love for us enough to sincerely pray for the happiness of those who insult, take advantage of or mistreat us? Or are we afraid to trust Him with our pain, our anger, our hunger for justice? If we’re honest, wouldn’t we prefer to pray for our enemies to suffer – at least as much as we’re suffering?
When someone behaves in a mean-spirited way toward us, it can suck us into an emotionally and spiritually dark place. If we respond with hatred and bitterness, we could descend into a spiral more devastating than the original offense.
Once we get caught in this downward spiral, we’re trapped.
Unless … we apply Jesus’ words and (by God’s grace) pray for those who “least deserve” but most need our prayers.
We can trust our heavenly Father to know what to do with our prayers, even when we pray for the happiness of the person who mistreated us. God can use our prayers for our enemies to set us free from bitterness, heal our shattered emotions and release us from painful memories.
And when we allow God to lead us in this impossible, incredible, Jesus-kind-of response, imagine what a witness it will be to the one who offended us – and to anyone who knows about the wrong done to us.
It could be life-changing on so, so many levels.
What about you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
- How would it change you if you daily prayed for those who have hurt you?
- How would it change your relationships – including your relationship with God?
- How would it change your life?
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