Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Praying for Love for My Enemies

Monroe County

The #1 thing I am praying for myself is that God would form Christlike love in my heart that loves my enemies. I'm asking because I don't have it. Jesus did have it. I want his heart to be formed in me (Galatians 4:19).

I am praying for the greatest thing. I believe in supernatural healings. I have seen them. But love is greater than healings. For one reason, love will endure for eternity, love is heaven's modus operandi. As great and wonderful healings are, they are still a subset of that greater, all-encompassing reality that is the love of God. It's like this.

1. God so loved the world.
2. Out of his love God sent His Son to the world.

God heals people because, in the first place, God loves them. Love always comes first. It is possible to heal a person without loving them; it is not possible to love them and not desire their soul and body to be well. Or desire their release from indebtedness. The heart of authentic Jesus-faith is that love forgives. The inability to forgive is an indicator of the absence of love.

I'm still reading Jerry Sittser's excruciating and hopeful A Grace Disguised. Sittser's car containing himself, his mother-in-law, his wife, and his daughter was hit by a drunk driver. Only Sittser survived. The drunk driver was acquitted by a clever lawyer. Sittser writes of the agony of this injustice piled on the loss of his loved ones.

"During the months that followed the trial I thought often about the driver of the other car. I fantasized reading reports in the newspaper that he had died hideously or that he had committed a crime that put him behind bars for life. I wanted to see him suffer and pay for the wrong I believed he had done...

It eventually occurred to me that this preoccupation was poisoning me. It signaled that I wanted more than justice. I wanted revenge. I was beginning to harbor hatred in my heart. I was edging toward becoming an unforgiving person and using what appeared to be the failure of the judicial system to justify my unforgiveness. I wanted to punish the wrongdoer and get even. The very thought of forgiveness seemed abhorrent to me. I realized at that moment that I have to forgive. If not, I would be consumed by my own unforgiveness." (135)

The options are: Either consumed by the love of God that, among other things, forgives; or consumed by the poison of my own unforgiveness. The first option is freedom, the second bondage.

God, produce the love that you have for humanity in my heart.