Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I don't think I should have to pray for her.

" If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing"
1 Corinthians 13:1-3

There is someone I don't want to pray for. I don't want to forgive them. I don't want their situation to get better. I want them to go away. Far, far away. I want them to leave my family alone. The mere thought of them angers me. This person is so selfish, deceitful, manipulative and abusive that they have almost succeeded in tearing my extended family apart. 

The amount of energy that we have expended on this person and their effect on us is astounding. God finally intervened and removed them from part of our lives, but they are still there. Knocking on the door and poking the wound. I don't even deal with them directly. I am way far down the line. Outside of a random crazy text message, they never contact me. However, I still get angry at them. I still want to see Karma serve them right. I want justice!

God has been pushing me to pray for this person for over a year. Everytime I become angry or want to rant about them, He puts the verses above in my head. I can write the blog, I can spend time in devotions, I can journal and pray and go to church, but if I deny love then I am doing it all for naught. I don't want to love this person, and I don't think they deserve it. The problem is that I don't deserve God's love and forgiveness, but it is freely poured out on me. 

To help me, I have been reminded of this person's life. Their clear mental illness, their lack of family support, their overwhelming lack of self esteem and clear self loathing. Thoughts of how I would feel in their position have flooded my mind, and a desire to pray for them has bubbled up. Honestly, I have done all I can to resist it. 

I am not a very righteous person. I do not love easily, and forgiveness is harder. I am not even interested in it for the "let it go for yourself" vibe. I do not want to do this. To God, I must sound like my toddler "no, thank you. I will take all the parts of walking with you that I like, but I would like to skip this part. I don't want to love someone who received what I so desperately wanted and threw it away. I don't want to. I. Do. Not. Want. To."

Yet, I am. I am praying for them. I am attempting to love them. I am doing this despite the fact that I don't want to. I would love to tell you that when I decided to begin praying for them I was magically filled with peace and love and forgiveness, but I wasn't. I have to force myself. I have to ask God for help. I have to choose to obey what God is calling me to do. 

I am like Jonah in the whale. God was very clear about what Jonah needed to do, and Jonah was very clear about his not doing it. I think I have spent the past few weeks in the belly of the whale. It isn't always about large and amazing miracles. Sometimes it is about obedience and faith. 

I need to be obedient and treat all people with love. It is not my job to judge. It is not my job to determine who is and is not worthy of God's love. It is my job to be a living example of that love. It is my job to show my son how God's love is all forgiving. It is my job to have faith that God will help me love and forgive those who I find unloveable and unforgivable. 

Loving someone right where they are at is easy, if you like where they are, but when they are some place you detest, when their actions appall you, it can  be impossible. However, all things are possible through Christ. I will keep praying, and maybe someday I will truly love them. Until then, I will be thankful that  God doesn't hold me to the same standard I hold others to. 

1 comment:

  1. I could have SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO written this-- well, subbing the Christian vernacular with similar concepts, but the ideas are all there down to the very last. Spirit is telling me to love this small, disgusting person-- that things won't improve until that happens, but I just hate her so much and she brings so much pain and frustration into our lives. I visualize stepping on her head and watching it pop-- THIS IS SO NOT LIKE ME! I can acknowlege and accept that she is in pain herself and that she likely hates herself and that her actions are out of fear and insecurity and mental illness, but my heart is still filled with rage, hate, disdain... I grapple with questions like, "why is she such a (fill in the blank)" " why can't she see how hypocritical she is?" "Why can't she see how she's only hurting herself?" "Why does she think this attention seeking/victim behavior is working?" I have to be disciplined in reminding myself that she isn't, she can't, she won't and there's no amount of wishing that will change that. This leaves me with one option: acceptance, lovingkindness
    It's the only thing that will set any of us free. And yet it is so hard.

    Errr. Thanks for writing this. It's a good reminder and reinforcement. Sorry for going off... I just can't believe how similar I'm feeling right now.