Revenge & The Rarely Offered Prayer

Jeff FAITH, pride, Relationships

There is the unfortunate occasion for most of us to discern that we have become an enemy to another.  It can happen a dozen different ways but we know the experience of having someone gunning for us, hoping to bring us down.  They make speak against us or commit to resist us in ways that provide opportunity for our harm.  Perhaps they have made it their aim to wound us in some way that will bring them personal satisfaction.  It is not only that they desire to triumph…they really want to see us lose.  You have likely experienced some form of mistreatment in a manner significant enough to cause you heartbreak, anger, bloodthirst, and fear.  We hate to confess it, especially as followers of the One who commanded us to turn the other cheek, but there are seasons in our lives when we think about how to destroy our enemy before he can destroy us.  I’m going to suggest today that there is a profitable alternative available to us when we are being targeted by one seeking our demise.

“When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work.” – Nehemiah 4:15-16 {ESV}

God is willing to engage the full force of His being in order to frustrate the enemy of His righteous child.  Will you receive this? Can you fully surrender to your Father and ask Him to handle the one who opposes you with all of his or her might?  Has it occurred to you that it is much more beneficial for you to draw near unto God and receive the promise that He will simultaneously draw near to you (James 4:8)?  You see, if your enemy is running away from God and treating you in unloving, sinful ways and you then commence to chasing your enemy, the inevitable result will be that you both are choosing a direction leading away from the presence of God.  You are not to seek the destruction of your enemy.  You are to cry out for the intervention of your Father.  God knows exactly how to frustrate the plans of your enemy so that you are able to continue upon the life-path that He has carved out for you.  I have learned the hard way that it is impossible for me to experience the joy and peace of Christ while, at the same time, lending my mind to the process of soundly defeating my human opponent in a way that exonerates me and removes all doubt concerning who was the better man.  God has never blessed my angry retorts.  He’s not yet applauded my verbal daggers which I seek to plunge with precision and skill.  Never once has His potent hand of blessing rested upon me while I lay awake at night turning over in mind all the wrongs my enemy has heaped upon me.  When I give myself over to the delicacy of considering how to even the score, my own soul shrinks and I find myself losing my sense of God’s faithful commitment to protect me.  Every time I get impatient with waiting on God to settle things on my behalf, I forget this incredible verse: “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:6 {KJV}.  In the end I have to decide whether or not my caring, committed and capable Father in Heaven is better suited at handling my opponent than I am.  When I rightly conclude that He is…I can pray the following and return my heart’s focus to higher ground:

“Merciful God, I know that You are aware of the activity of the one who sees me as his enemy.  I know your righteous discernment will not allow his efforts to go unchecked.  Forgive me, Lord, because I also know that You see my rotten tendencies toward my own brand of justice.  You know my words and my thoughts and my deeds and they have not honored You as I have focused more on my opposition than my Defender.  Although the weaker part of me does not want to leave this matter fully in your hands, I am choosing to humble myself and do so because You have instructed me to and have promised to work on my behalf.  Please give me a gracious, merciful heart toward the one opposing me.  Help me to be delivered from my self-focus and empower me to see how I might glorify You in my current struggle.  As You work deeply in my own sinful heart, please also frustrate the plans of my enemy.  Confirm your promise to repay trouble to the one who troubles me.  Help me not to despair of my sense of powerlessness that accompanies my commitment to welcome You to handle this as You choose.   I believe that your justice is perfect and my own is terribly flawed.  I will wait on You as the perfect timing comes about.  If possible, conquer my enemy through grace and love that affords us opportunity for reconciliation.  I am willing for that to occur.  If my enemy is not willing and chooses to seek my harm, then please empower me to stand in the place of your blessing as You come to my aid in the right timing.  I trust You, my Father.  You love me too much for me to fear being forgotten by You.  I wait for You to move and please look at me now.  I’m standing still as I trust that You will not.”

This is a rarely offered prayer but one that you need to add to all other petitions you lay before the Lord.  God will be pleased.  Holy justice will be performed.  You will be strengthened in more ways than you know.