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What’s Sweeter Than Revenge?

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Do you have a “difficult” person in your life that you have to interact with on a regular basis? Or maybe someone that has hurt you in some way?  Or even someone who just seems to be ugly to you whenever you encounter them?  You could be in this situation with a person from work, church, your circle of friends or even your family. I have had to struggle with one of these people in my life, and have found it to be quite a challenge!

I try very hard to treat everyone kindly, to not hurt feelings, and to generally interact well with others.  However, with this particular person, I just could not seem to succeed.

I’m not sure what I originally did to get things off on the wrong foot with “Kathy”, but I just could not seem to win. I really did not go out of my way to aggravate this person, and in fact, I tried to keep my communications with her to a minimum.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my way of handling things was not the best way. First, I prayed about it:  For patience, “Lord, please help me to keep my temper!”  For understanding, “Lord, help me to understand why she acts this way!”  And For wisdom, “Lord, please help me to know how to handle this!”  All to no avail!   So I turned to my Bible.  Why I don’t always do this to begin with, I don’t know!  I thought maybe I wasn’t praying right, so I looked up a few verses on prayer, and one in particular stuck out to me:   

Matthew 5:44 ~ “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”(The underline is mine)

When I read this verse, the words themselves were not at all difficult to understand.  When I began to try to transform these words into actions, though, it was another story altogether!  This is Jesus, Himself, speaking to us, and He intends for us to take this to heart and follow through on it.  All this time I had been praying for myself, and it seems I should have been praying for HER!”  My first thought was to pray that she stop being so mean, but then I revisited another part of the verse, “Bless them that curse you”.  Was I supposed to pray for BLESSINGS for her?  For this woman who has been so difficult to me, as well as to others?  What was I supposed to pray for for the woman who already seems to have it all?  This was a little hard to swallow.

At this point, I took a deep breath.  I knew I could do this.  I know that I fall very short of the Christian that I should be, but I do try.  I am a grown-up, and I think that I am mature enough to put my own personal feelings behind me.  But I have to say, it is HARD!  Sure, I can say the words, but I am pretty sure that Jesus wants me to MEAN them!

I took another deep breath and tried again. I prayed for blessings for her and for her family. I could actually feel some of the tension release from my shoulders as I prayed.  It was not an eloquent prayer, but I believe it was sincere.  I didn’t stop there.  I kept praying for her, and I still do.  I was amazed at how my eyes were opened, and began to feel compelled to extend mercy to her.  To be kind to her.  To better understand her own struggles.  It put everything in a different light and changed how I felt about her completely.

I found some other verses that I’ll share with you at the end.  I do recommend that you try this.  You are praying for someone else, but I think you’ll reap many of the benefits yourself!  You know, this kind of puts a different spin on the phrase, “I’ll be praying for you!” doesn’t it?!

Proverbs 25:21-22 ~ “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat: and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:  For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.”

Romans 8:26 ~ “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:  for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:  but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

James 5:16 ~ “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”