I don't know why, because they didn't come to me directly. I'm not aware of anything I've done that would have caused their animosity. But it's there, nonetheless. The whole thing makes me very sad.
After the situation happened, I was just in shock. Speechless. If anything similar has ever happened to you, you'll understand what I mean. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. And afterward, I didn't know how to respond. In a daze, I started just trying to think my way through the situation.
I remembered that Jesus said that if someone hates me, I am to pray for them. In Luke 6:27-28, He said:
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.””
And Matthew 5:44-45 says:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
So that's where I started. I was too numb to do anything else. But I didn't really know how to pray about it.
But I was so angry that I didn't do very well at first.
Honestly, looking back, I see that my first prayers were from a heart attitude of “Oh yeah? I'll show you. I'll pray for you to be blessed, because I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do, and you're not.”
Horrible. I know. What terrible motives. Lord, I'm so sorry. (Am I the only one who has ever done that?) But, at least I wasn't angry or cursing this person. I was genuinely concerned for their well-being, even though my heart's motives weren't pure. (In the past, before I met Jesus, I would have been very angry and definitely would have said horrible things about them. So I thank God that at least He is changing me.)
Then I got some sleep and went to the Lord the next morning about it. When I did, I saw things very differently. I thought I'd share what I saw, in case you might be dealing with a similar situation.
Here's what the Lord showed me about how to pray for those that hate you:
1. God loves the person who hates me just as much as God loves me.
This person is the beloved child of the Father. Papa God's heart beats for them, just like it does for me. My Father loves them with an everlasting love, and is working in this person's life just like He is working in my life.
Do you have someone who hates you? If so, would you take the time to realize that God earnestly loves and yearns after them, just like He loves and yearns after you?
2. Because God loves them, I know His heart breaks when He sees this situation.
Seeing things from God's perspective suddenly changed my perspective. When I realized that Jesus sees this situation, and that it grieves His precious heart to have this person act/think/talk this way, then suddenly my motives changed. No longer was I praying out of an “I'll show you – holier than thou” attitude. Instead, I was praying out of my love for Jesus.
I don't want to see Jesus' heart grieved. I don't want Him to be sad. I don't want to see Him hurt.
When I saw God's heart breaking for this person, I was suddenly able to pray out of sympathy with Jesus. My prayer changed from “holier-than-thou” to “Daddy God, please bless them and heal their heart because this is wounding Jesus, and I can't stand for Jesus to be wounded anymore. Oh God, please overwhelm this person with Your love for them.”
It became about Jesus, not about me. And in reality, isn't that what every sin and wrong response is about? It's not directed at me–not really. It's just sin rebelling against Jesus.
If you are in a similar situation, ask Father God to help you pray in sympathy with Jesus. Ask Him to let Jesus receive His full, glorious inheritance in the person that hates you.
God responds to prayers like that.
Related: THE book that changed my prayer life forever and taught me to pray on behalf of Jesus is Power, Passion & Prayer (Pure Gold Classics) by my hero, Charles Finney (Amazon affiliate link). Digest it one chapter at a time, and I guarantee it will wreck you forever too. 🙂
3. I'm not accountable for their actions, but I am accountable for responding rightly.
I won't answer to God for someone else's actions, but I will answer for my own.
My response is between me and God. I want to walk before God in white, with clean hands and a pure heart. Dear Father, help me to respond rightly.
The same goes for you. If someone has treated you badly, they were wrong to do so. But their wrong doesn't make it ok for you to respond sinfully.
Walk before God in white. Respond with righteousness, peace, and love. That is all we are responsible for. God will take care of the rest.
I don't know how the situation I'm dealing with will turn out, but I know God will handle it. I can rest in Him… and so can you.
If you are dealing with someone who hates you, please understand that God loves them too. Pray for them in sympathy with the heart of Jesus, that Jesus would no longer be grieved. And don't let sin rob you of clean hands and a pure heart.
Do any of these things resonate with you too? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!
- Radical Prayers Get Radical Answers
- Radical Prayer #1: God Wants To Honor You
- Radical Prayer #2: Jesus Became Poor That You Might Become Rich
- Radical Prayer #3: Wild Ideas and Witty Inventions
- Radical Prayer #4: The Anointing of the Sons of Issachar
- Radical Prayer #5: An Angel With a Flaming Sword
- Radical Prayer #6: God Wants To Set You On High
- How To Get Your Prayers Answered 100% of the Time
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