My husband has a long standing tradition of praying for his enemies. I say enemies in the Biblical sense of the word, as we are called to pray for those who attack us, wish us harm. People who can't play nice in the sand box. Those people we shake our heads at, wondering what happened to them as a kid? Really.
Still, you wonder why people sometimes behave as they do? If you have watched the debacle we call American politics and presidential candidates, you will understand?! Disheartening, embarrassing, everyone in time out! Now!
Maybe my words, long standing tradition is a stretch. Honestly, this is not something the hubs contends with frequently. He actually has a long standing tradition of solid, healthy relationships from community to work. Over the years, nurses have shared the joys and jokes of working alongside him. Operating room humor is a necessary part of the heady seriousness of cutting open a sleeping patient, who has entrusted their care to you.
Friends, he has a rich supply from young guns to mature wisdom bearers. He values people...
For the few that find him arrogant, he is a surgeon after all, human to the core. The loss is yours, you missed a gem of a human being, who once finding a friend, claims you for all his days.
But this is about us, not him.
We have all found ourselves in the firing line from time to time, with a friend, coworker, neighborhood bully. Maybe we messed up or they are straight up looney tunes. Either way, what do we do? How do we handle evil when thrown at us and what should we do? The two rarely align, maybe because of the emotion that comes in to play. If I am an onlooker, my go to is to step in, be a shield for you or at least a voice of reason. I can quickly become your worst nightmare if you have evil intentions and I think you may be bat&%^* crazy. I am not proud of this, just honest.
My husband reminds me that we are called to pray for people who cause us pain. He tells me that when he forgives someone, even if they have not asked for forgiveness, it frees him. Mean people. People that try to hurt us. People who say unkind things. He reminds me that God loves them as much as us, and I remind him, they are evil so, game on. He says, "No, I pray for their souls because they live in darkness." I say they deserve darkness. He says, "No, Jesus loves them as much as He loves us." This goes on for awhile...
You see, the husband understands grace, mercy, and compassion. He recognizes his own humanity and the love of a God who sees him as righteous, though he knows he is unworthy. Ah, the beauty and agony of the cross. Jesus, we love you in all our humanness. Thank you for grace.
He chooses to forgive because he understands the blessing that comes. He may not condone, agree or be silent about the evil, because his moral fiber refuses. We must balance this as Christians. We do not have to give up our integrity or become doormats to forgive. Forgiveness does not equal silence.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you."
I don't know about you, but I want to be on the side of forgiveness because the other option is not going to go well.
"Do not judge or you will be judged. Do not condemn or you will be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37
This life of faith is pretty beautiful. We get to live with perspective that reminds us, whatever our circumstances may be, we win, because He, that same God is faithful to us! He carries our burdens, heals our wounds, claims our victories. He slays that bully, beats that evil king, all the while protecting us in His arms.
May forgiveness be the word on our lips, no matter the evil that persists. We live in freedom, claim it, raise it high and use it for His glory!