Thursday, February 14, 2013

Challenge for Lent; Say WHAAAAT?!!
A Valentine Prayer for your Arch-Nemesis?!

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," ~Jesus (Matthew 5:44 ) 
“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Okay, so I try to actually do what Jesus says, even as counter-intuitive and counter-cultural as it seems. But, what about that total jerk (I'd use profanity, but after all, this IS a religious blog). That MONSTER that I just can't deal with? What about the person who DESERVES my loathing and not my loving?

Really? Isn't that ALL of us? Seriously. Maybe there's someone who just seems to constantly make your life a living hell. Maybe its their attitude, their behavior, things they say. Maybe they're really "gunning for you," they really enjoy hurting you or demoralizing you day in and day out. 

First of all, I bet that if you step back and get some perspective, you may realize that you're just might be being a little bit paranoid. Odds are they're actually indifferent toward you.

But okay, so for whatever reason, you've neurotically given them way too much space in your head. Even if it IS just your imagination, what ABOUT that person? How on Earth do you ever muster the humility or self-discipline to pray for THAT person?

When in doubt, read the instructions. Most people who've been reading the Bible for a while will tell you that St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13 is the "Love Chapter." I'll bet you see it quoted all over the place today since its Valentine's Day. 

So here's my idea. Take verses 4-6 in particular and pray them FOR that person. A Pentecostal or Charismatic blogger might tell you to pray them "over" that person. Here's the passage, followed by how a prayer like this might look-
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
"Dear God, __________________ is driving me CRAZY! I don't know if they hate me or if they're deliberately trying to make me feel like this, or if they just don't care how they treat anyone.

Lord, PLEASE change their heart, change their attitude, change how they treat me.

Make them patient, make them KIND! Don't let them be jealous (if that's whats going on), make them be humble, make them respect others, help them not be so selfish. Whatever I may have done, help them not be so angry with me. Help us to start over. Help them see things more clearly.

In Jesus Name, Amen"

Yeah, come to think of it, this might require that you read 1 Cor 13 over and over again until you have it memorized so that you can apply it like this. That, or you'll have to pray for that person the next time you crack open your Bible, or start carrying a small Bible around with you, or download one of those free Bible Apps onto your iPod or smart phone. Well, really, would any of those things be such bad ideas?

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