Wednesday, August 02, 2017

True Praying Breeds Compassion for Others

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In my backyard

1 John 2:7-11 tells me -  If I say I know God and love him but hate my beloved Christian brothers and sisters, I'm walking in darkness and blindness. Since God has no fellowship with darkness (in him there is no darkness at all), I disfellowship myself in the act of hating.
These verses haunt me, because I have hated other Christians. At the point of my hatred I have not known, loved, or followed Jesus. Worshiping Jesus as Lord on Sunday morning and hating people is just acting, and hypocritical.

A Jesus-follower who hates others is a contradiction. Because "God so loved the world," right?

The antidote to my hate-filled heart is a Spirit-transformed, Jesus-shaped heart. So, I am praying for a heart of love.

I want to look at others with the same compassion Jesus had. I want to love and forgive others from the heart, as Jesus did when he hung on the cross. I want the freedom Jesus had from a spirit of victimization.

How can this happen? One way is 
in the act of praying for others. True praying breeds compassion. And togetherness.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:
"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others."[1]

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 86