Have you ever been annoyed repeatedly, mistreated, harassed, intimidated, bullied or abused? This is only part of a long list the dictionary defines as “persecuted.”
If you have ever been the victim of any of these unpleasant actions, you might not want to even think about the one who brought such hurt to you.
Even worse, if you are experiencing the hurt right now, what can you do?
Jesus said to “pray for those who persecute you.”
We might be more comfortable praying for those who persecute others than praying for those who persecute us. Why is that?
If we pray for those who are persecuting others, it feels more like we are the good guys, coming in with power to rescue.
If we pray for those who have persecuted us or are persecuting us, we may feel the sting of the powerlessness we hate. We feel victimized.
We may feel that someone who is hurting us is not worthy of our prayers.
We may have to confront our reluctance to forgive … or forget.
Jesus made it personal. He spoke of those who persecute “you.”
What can we do with this tough call to Prayer?
If we want to know how to pray for those who hurt us, we can look to Jesus’ Example of Grace extended to those who were hurting Him.
When we look at the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus, we can see Prayer in action.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Some assume Jesus’ Words were for the soldiers carrying out their tortuous assignment.
However, Jesus did not limit His Prayer of Grace to one person or even one group of people. I believe when Jesus looked out from the cross, He saw many more people than just the soldiers, who were near Him.
He saw Judas, who betrayed Him, the disciples who fell asleep and did not keep watch with Him, Peter who denied Him, Pilate and Herod, who were instrumental in condemning Him, and the crowd of people who were watching, observing suffering and doing nothing.
And Jesus saw all of us across time. He saw us, each caught in our own sins, hurting ourselves and others … and not knowing yet the better Way.
Jesus said to The Father, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Our response to the call to pray for those who hurt us begins with these simple lessons.
1. There is no human without sin.
Our sins may be different, but we have all sinned and come short of The Glory of God.
“… all have sinned and fall short of The Glory of God.”
2. God’s Grace is offered to all.
“For The Grace of God has appeared that offers Salvation to all people.”
3. To be able to receive The Grace God offers us, we must forgive. We are able to receive as much forgiveness as we are willing to give others.
“In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.
“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
God’s Grace and Mercy is delivered to us on the wings of our prayers of Grace extended to those who have hurt us or hurting us now.
Jesus did not wait until He got to Heaven to pray for those hurting Him. He prayed in the midst of the pain.
God is calling you right now to pray for those who have hurt you. Take a step of faith and see the people you believe God created them to be. Pray that they come to know Who He is and Who they are in Him.
“God saw all that He had made and it was very good.”
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s Grace, in its various forms.”
1 Peter 4:10