Monday, June 02, 2008

Giving Grace to our Enemies

I admit, I have a hard time with grace. Giving and receiving. I think it's a great concept, and yet, I struggle.

One of my enemies recently sent out a prayer request on one of the prayer loops I belong to. I read the request and was angry. Why should I pray for that? I knew why my enemy was in the situation. She'd made a series of poor decisions and rather than accepting responsibility for those decisions, was blaming everyone else for being in a bad place resulting from her own wrong actions. Why did she deserve any grace over that? She hadn't learned anything. She still didn't believe she'd done anything wrong. And now she wants me to pray for her to have God fix it? Nuh-uh.

The situation has been playing over and over in my mind. Exactly what she did wrong. Exactly why she deserved the position she was in. And then I realized... yes, she had done wrong. And while I fully believe she needed to understand that there are consequences of her behavior, it wasn't for me to decide. The reality is, she made a mistake, and even though she refused to see it as her mistake, others responded inappropriately to that mistake.

It didn't matter that she was wrong. It didn't matter that she made a mistake. We can't respond to her wrongdoing with further wrongdoing. An eye for an eye... Jesus abolished that law.

It's hard. I don't want her to continue living on her self-righteous steam. I don't want her to think she was right in what she did. But I also know she's got a lot of other people reminding her of how she'd sinned. Even though she shouts out about what a victim she's been, I see her insecurity. I know that deep down, she's probably whipping herself with even worse things than I can possibly send her way. There's probably a lot of lies mixed in with those truths. She probably doesn't even recognize the truth anymore.

As I thought about it, I realized that I, too, have made mistakes. Maybe not quite the thing she has done, but things I am not proud of. Things I wish I hadn't done. Things that have changed my life. I've faced backlash, and I've been handed grace. I will never be good enough to earn Christ's love, but he's given it anyway. If I had done what she had done, nevermind the fact that I know better, which option would I choose.

And so, days after I knew of her need, I began to pray. Lord, help her. Give her strength. Heal her wounds. Give her what she needs to leave this place of being an animal, lashing out and damaging others around her. Help her to grow beyond the insecurities that are holding her back. Let her know your truth. Tell her what you really think in her. Not what she thinks of herself. Not what others think of her. Not even how I perceive her. But Lord, how you see her.

I cannot bring myself to ask Him to fix the situation she's in. But as I try to see beyond the mistakes that led her down this path, I pray for the underlying disease. The things causing her bad behavior.

I also pray for grace. For me to show her. For Him to show me. And maybe one day, for us to show each other.


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