The first act of kindness that came to mind when I read this month’s prompt was intense and immediate. Doing acts of loving-kindness is easy when we’re dealing with decent folk. However, it’s nearly impossible to obey a nudge from God to love a difficult person.
A few years ago, several difficult people entered my life in a dramatic way. There was no ignoring their presence and there was no denying the difficulties they presented. I wished with all my heart the scenario was just a bad scene in a movie that never needed to occupy my thoughts again.
God planned to shape and sharpen my character through frequent rubbings against rough-edged personalities.
Painful interactions are unavoidable. (Trust me, as a prone-to-flight person, I tried.) But God specializes in turning our wounds into ways to glorify Him. What is more glorifying to God than His people forgiving, blessing, and praying for those who have used, abused, and falsely accused them?
Yup. I’m enrolled in the how to love your enemy lesson. It’s not an easy course. The homework is grueling. And the temptation to drop out is real. But what amazes me the most is how blessed I felt when I prayed for those who harmed me.
Each prayer released a link from the chain of unforgiveness that desired to drag me under its suffocating weight.
The other thing that surprised me is that there are people who will never change. Never repent. Never apologize or improve. It’s not our job to decide who is stuck. Our job is to pray that a miracle of salvation comes to the hearts of our enemies. To witness a rough-edged sinner come to Christ would be wonderful. That’s the kind of miracle that makes my head turn and causes my mouth to praise God.
Physical healings are nice. But born-again souls are forever miracles that make the angels in Heaven sing, praise, and shout hallelujah.
I know, because I was a rough-edged sinner before I came to Christ. No, I wasn’t a blatant troublemaker or obvious user. But I hurt others through my selfish and dysfunctional behavior. There were some embarrassing—but necessary—apologies I needed to make. And how rewarding to hear back from someone that my apology meant the world to him. This is the kind of miracle I love praying for: Transformed hearts that produce transformed lives that bless and not curse those whom they encounter.
I still mess up. I still need to apologize regularly. But even if others don’t forgive me, God always does because He’s the King of loving-kindness.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
I’m nosy-to-know what you’ve experienced when you prayed blessings for difficult people?
Wendy L. Macdonald is an inspirational blogger and podcaster who loves to photograph nature on Vancouver Island. Her byline is: “My faith is not shallow because I’ve been rescued from the deep.” Her main website is wendylmacdonald.com where she enjoys interacting with readers.