Tidbits and Blessings Blog
by Jeanie Malone
I’d love for you to join the conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments section under each entry.
Last week, we looked at how intercessory prayer is the key to our success. Others’ prayers for us and our praying for others are essential to our overcoming obstacles, recognizing right opportunities, and persevering in our purpose given to us by Christ, our Savior.
Praying for others, especially our enemies, involves praying for them to seek God with their whole heart so they will have the close relationship with God necessary for an eternally productive life. We must pray for our enemies with empathy, knowing that we have been forgiven much, including many offenses of which we aren’t even aware. We are to pray in this manner for those we personally know and don’t know and by whom we are offended or oppressed.
People are just the pawns Satan uses to instrument his evil. David prayed for God’s judgment against those who did evil. David prayed in accordance with God’s will for evil to be crushed, so God’s power, purpose, and plan prevailed. We learn from David’s example to hate evil and pray for evil to be crushed. Praying imprecatory prayers against people who do us wrong, such as David prayed against his enemies, is not what we are to do under New Testament Grace.
David was described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart. In 1 Samuel 13:14 as part of God’s judgment against King Saul’s evil, Samuel says that “the LORD hath sought a man after his own heart.” This is echoed in Acts 13:22 when Paul recounted God’s miracles and power and the lineage of Christ through King David: “And when he had removed [Saul}, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he have testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.”
In the New Testament, we learn to separate the evil from the person. In Ephesians 6, Paul instructs us to be strong in the Lord, to put on the whole armour of God, and we are reminded that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (10-12).
In order to pray for others, we cannot harbor ill feelings toward them. The entire passage of Ephesians 4 teaches us how we ought to live with one another. The chapter ends with verses 29-32 clarifying, “grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
We are told not to “grieve” the holy Spirit of God. Think of the sorrow and deep emotional pain you feel when someone close to you passes away. This is the same deep emotional pain we are told not to cause the holy Spirit of God. It is no small matter for us to harbor bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness toward someone. It is a major offense to the holy Spirit of God for us to speak evil of someone.
Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:44-48)
Christ makes it clear that we must forgive others to be forgiven by God (Matthew 6:14-15) and that how we judge others, we will also be judged (Matthew 7:1-2). Furthermore, we cannot worship and serve God if we have wronged another and do not sincerely apologize to that person (Matthew 5:23-24). It is important that we repent of our sins and apologize to God and to those against whom we have transgressed.
I love the acronym for forgive given by Chou Allegra, founder of Grace & Hope Consulting, LLC, on a recent episode of Juniper Tree Live by Rhema Creationz and Broken Vessels Podcast:
F—Find out if your grudge is valid
O—Organize your grudge (the facts)
R—Relinquish control; drop selfishness
G—Get a different perspective
I—Initiate Self Care—Emotional and Spiritual; take it to God first
V—Value peace about all (peace within, peace with God, and peace with others)
E—Eliminate traps and set boundaries
Allegra goes into details regarding these important parts of the process of forgiveness on the Juniper Tree Live podcast. If we do some of these, but not all, our forgiveness and therefore our own healing, is incomplete. Peace and living our purpose are of utmost importance in this life. If we evaluate our own unforgiveness yet don’t eliminate traps and set healthy boundaries, we are setting ourselves up to make the same mistake again that will cause grief to ourselves, God, and others.
The Old Testament gives pictures of the Grace to come with Christ. In one of the Pilgrim Songs, or Songs of Ascent, composed and sang as part of the annual Jewish tradition of traveling to Jerusalem, Psalm 130 is a song of repentance. It humbly admits reliance on God for forgiveness, healing, and hope for the future. It is important in our prayers today that we recognize the need for ourselves and others to humble ourselves and seek God with our whole hearts in order to be productive in the purpose God has for us. We must love others as much as we love ourselves and want the same intimacy with God for them as we want for ourselves.
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities (Psalm 130).
Who have you harbored ill feelings toward? Who do you need to forgive today? Who do you need to ask forgiveness from? Take the important steps to peace and living your purpose by forgiving and praying for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. Remember that Christ himself instructs to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Click below to enjoy the podcast with Chou Allegra.