On a recent trip to Dublin, Ireland I had the incredible opportunity to attend a beautiful Sunday worship service at the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. While there, I was reminded of the profound impact that St. Patrick had in forgiving others and baptizing Christian converts over 1500 years ago.
Later during the service, the Holy Spirit convicted me that I had not obeyed what he had commanded. I had forgiven a particular person who had done a grievous wrong to me, but I had not prayed for them; nor did I want to “love” this person.
My mind kept “re-playing” the scenario and I was having a difficult time processing the situation. Fortunately, I knew from the scriptures the benefits of forgiveness and I knew Christ commanded us to forgive our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. But I had to ask myself, could I treat this person better than they deserved?
Immediately, I began to take the steps necessary to stop focusing on the wrong that had been done to me. I asked God to help me and I began to pray for this person, asking God to return good for evil. I realized I had to overcome a couple of obstacles in the process. I wanted people to know the harm that had been done in order to receive sympathy and I simply had to let go of the fact that this person might never repent or recognize that they did anything wrong.
The key to this and many situations is to trust that God knows every detail. He sees all and he attends to us with rich mercy. Are we willing to trust him with our sorrows and completely obey his words? We may never be kidnapped and enslaved like St. Patrick, or have a prophetic dream to go to a distant land to share the gospel, but we are commanded, “do not pay back wrong for a wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
Meditate on “The Prayer of St. Patrick”
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Christ. May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us.
Dear Lord, I do not know how to deal with my enemies on my own. Please give me the wisdom and strength to do the right thing in your eyes, to forgive, pray and bless those who persecute me. Help me to be a vessel for Christ in all situations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Challenge: Next time you find yourself face-to-face with your enemies, refuse to retaliate and instead love them, bless them, forgive them, pray for them and let God take care of the justice. In this, you will mature in your faith and be perfected in his image by reflecting his love to the world around you.