“Praying for those who’ve hurt You” . . . or, for those you just don’t like. I never could do it. Those who despitefully use you. Saying prayers for your enemies. But I can tell you what happens when you don’t. You end up with a whole lot of resentment in your heart; and you can carry it around for a lot of years, and not really know it fully.
Some people grew up in some pretty bad situations; especially where there was a lot of emotional and physical violence. Grownups beating up on little kids, can warp a child’s mind for life; unless there is some kind of intervention, you likely don’t get over it. You bury it. But you learn the hard way, it’s going to come out; one day.
I learned that some people are very angry; and they do not realize it. If you were in a family where you could not express anger of any kind, you may have learned to hide it so well, or you don’t recognize it for what it is. It disables you. And like a bottle with a stopper in it; you shake it up enough or put enough heat to it, it’s going to pop. We all know, it makes you ill and it causes you to do things you might not intend to do.
If you’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family, like so many of us have, you don’t know how to be angry and express it in appropriate ways. Since we are often taught that we are not supposed to be like that, we try hard not to be. We were never really taught, that we could be angry, if we did not sin. It became rage.
I struggled for years with not knowing how angry I was. I remember going to a class for people who acted one way, but really felt a different way. They gave me a hard go. We had to learn to say how we truly felt about things, in the appropriate manner; we had to practice.
A lot of people raised in church have a lot of anger; you’re not allowed to talk about it much; but they do. Unless you’ve lived it, this being told what to do, and being forced to do it, without being able to ask questions or say how you feel, is very destructive. I think one reason for resenting so much, was many of the answers we were given, didn’t make sense. And they didn’t make sense when we became adults either. Obey, without question, made a lot of folks angry; really. And, a lot of that anger even got turned toward God.
There’s a program that teaches that we often don’t do the work to deal with certain issues in our lives, until we get “sick and tired, of being sick and tired.” Resentment, can be a number one offender. It can cause spiritual illness. I caught a clue later in life, when I heard, if you had a resentment for someone, pray for them for two weeks, and it will leave. Tired of holding on to things forever and it making me sick, I tried it. It worked. This is not what I thought I was going to talk about, but this is what came out. I knew, but had not really done well processing it, that all of these bad feelings, were hurting me more than anybody else. I had to try something different.
A couple of years ago, there were some people that managed to hurt my heart, sooner or later. I stayed away from them; but, because I still cared for those people, things they did or did not do, still hurt me. I was sick of it. I started getting down on my face and praying for those people. I did not even mean it at first; but I kept at it. It changed. It began to lift. Something, had taken the sting out of it. So, I kept it up. And I’m still doing it. Believe it or not, I have actually begun to want good things for those people and pray that God would bless them with everything they need; their work, their ministry and their families. Reality is, they have not changed. But I have.