‘Pray for your enemies, do good to those who persecute you.’ It is the hardest thing we are called to do. Can I call myself a Christ-follower if I don’t? But the people who have hurt me – and they have been nothing short of genuinely wicked… surely God doesn’t mean *them*? But I remind myself of Christ on the cross, when they cast lots for His clothes. Sickening. Despicable. Yet He spoke words of forgiveness. Forgiveness?! That’s crazy! And then Stephen, who died with words of forgiveness on His lips. More recently the one who most touched my heart when I think vengeance and anger (instead of the hope of Christ) is the story of Maximillian Kolbe, singing his hymns of praise and words of encouragement even as he was tortured. When I pray for my enemies (which I should maybe do more often, though it is so painful) I feel the burden lifted. That’s the blessing of forgiveness, the God-flowing grace of forgiveness. Just like prayer, forgiveness itself is a gift from God.
Although most of you don’t know my family, maybe you can imagine how your family would typically react to such an announcement. Would your family all just have a beautiful Kumbaya moment in the middle of the church parking lot? I didn’t think so but hey, it would be nice, huh? I did not observe such an inspirational reaction from my crew.
So what did I say? I said that by dinnertime, I wanted us to share at least two things that God was asking us to do.
The response I got in return was less than overwhelming. The Hubs was the only one who seemed moderately interested in giving an answer anytime in the near future. Twenty-six years of marriage, he is finally catching…
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