I posted a short diatribe earlier, and that’s OK. If you’ve ever read any of psalms in the Old Testament, you know that it’s really okay to ask God “why?” or to ask Him “how long?” we must endure some sort of suffering or injustice. It’s also okay to let God know you are more than a little disappointed. As I’ve told more than one audience, God can “take it.” He’s all powerful, all knowing, all compassionate. He knows your heart so it’s not surprise to God when you spew forth your venom of negativity. And God understands (recall that God is compassion) and weeps with you.
Another thing to remember while you’re shaking your fist at God is that He loves each one of us. He loves the victim, but He also loves the oppressor. God loves the disadvantaged, but He also loves the one who has the power. God loves the downtrodden, but also loves the one who heartlessly tramples on them. And God asks us to do the same. Impossible you say? I know it is. But nothing is impossible for God. So, we have to let God’s love flow through us. Whatever we know to be unfair, unpleasant, unthinkable, unjust – we give it all to God. And we pray for our enemies, for those who persecute us or other people in the world who never did anything to deserve such intolerable treatment.
We are told to pray for our enemies, that they’ll repent. Repentance means to have a total change of heart and mind, to realize that the way you were going is wrong and sinful and that it offends the Creator who made you. And you regret and are sorry for what you’ve done. And when you do that, God forgives. But even when He’s offended and even as God weeps for the “least of these,” He loves the offender as well as the ones who suffer.
We can’t really understand a God like that. But it’s a true blessing because none of us are without sin. None of us are perfect. We all fall from time to time. We all hold grudges, are mean, are ugly toward someone else, often it’s someone we love. And we are ashamed and we ask forgiveness, we repent and are grateful that God forgives. We are so thankful that God will always love us, no matter what.
So, let us pray for the conversion of sinners, remembering that that includes ourselves. Let us pray for peace, in our hearts and in the world. And let us pray for the victims, that the angels of the Lord will minister to them. That people with compassion and humility and courage will help them, console them, heal them, love them.
Let us pray for one another, for those who have no one to pray for them, and for those who don’t know they should pray for the good of others, even their enemies. I hope and pray we can recall or maybe learn for the first time that God is always gazing upon us in love. God is always with us. Jesus, the Son and Second Person of the Trinity, suffered under a cruel state apparatus that was heartless and persecuted those they considered ‘less than.’ God knows our pain and His love is evident when we look at the Cross of Christ.
I am also praying for this resistance in my own heart that keeps me from wanting the enemy to repent, the part of me that wants enemies to suffer and ‘get what’s coming to them.’ I pray for a heart of flesh to replace my heart of stone. Lord, hear our prayer.