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Psalm 35: 12 – 15

They repay me evil for good, to the bereavement of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer kept returning to my bosom. I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother. But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together.

Let’s get real for a minute, especially with the holidays upon us. Life is not always fair though I believe it should be. David suffered what many of you have. People don’t treat you as you treat them. When they were sick or troubled, you humbled yourself and prayed for them as you would your own mother. However, without provocation they turn on you. They backbite and scoff saying all sorts of untrue and hateful things about you. The worst part of it for most of us is that these “friends” are usually Christians. That really hurts. Then when they have trouble again, Dad taps you on the shoulder and asks you to pray for them. Well, I don’t always want to pray for those people either, so I know how it pains you. I have argued with God about praying for people who aren’t nice to me. Now at the holidays, these issues seem to take on even greater proportions. So, what are we to say to this and how are we to deal with it.

Our praying for those obnoxious and hurtful people has way more to do with our relationship with Dad than those people. He asks us to pray because He is working with us. He binds Himself to us through these requests. When we do His work, i.e. blessing the unlovely, we move closer to Him. My survival technique, therefore, is to make it about God and not about them. It is something Father and I do together and it becomes a bonding experience, kind of like surviving a disaster. It still isn’t easy at times but the more I require Him to pray with me and through me, the easier it becomes. Face it, it is a lot harder praying for the people who don’t deserve it but that is where maturity enters in. David prayed for the hateful, spiteful people in his life because he knew it was the spiritually mature thing to do. He knew his father wanted him to. That does not make their behavior just or right. It’s just that God has to turn to the mature among us for these things. We don’t have to like it but when you find yourself growing together with God through the shared experience, it becomes tolerable.

So as you attend the company Christmas party and family get togethers this year, make sure to take Jesus with you. Pray before you go. Actually, begin praying now. Let the Lord speak and move through you. Let his voice and love soothe you and bless all God’s children in his name.

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