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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace

 

 

II Corinthians 2

 

 

She really hurt my feelings! Tears filled my eyes as I felt the sting of her words and her actions, as if I had just been slapped.

And I had done nothing wrong! I could think of no instance where I had mistreated her, or deserved her unfeeling, self-centered words. All I had ever done was try to love and support her! Why did I deserve this?

I determined to end our friendship. I was feeling pretty self-righteous, after all. Since I had been wronged, wouldn't it be ok if I just "backed off" from her and prayed for her instead? I determinedly wrote her name, in bold black ink, on my prayer sheet.

There.

I would pray for her. After all, Jesus said I should…



"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…" Matthew 5:44

 

Hmmm…you will notice that I skipped over the "blessing part" and the "doing good" part.

 

I figured praying was enough, and…well…it was certainly more than she deserved from me.

 

Oh, I will admit, I enjoyed acting "cool" towards her. After all, I had been hurt! Now, she would bear the consequences of her unfeeling words, that I certainly had not deserved.

 

Well, my prayers were not too spiritual…they went something like this:

 

Father…she really hurt me. I pray for her. She obviously does not want my friendship. Help her to see how she hurt me. Help her to be truly convicted. Help her not to be so self-centered. Change her, Lord, because she really needs to get a handle on her self-centeredness.

 

It was a window prayer, I will admit.

 

You see, a window prayer is when I am praying for someone, without considering my own responsibility. I am looking out at that person, thinking of his or her problems, or his or her needs, without realizing that the Father might desire to change MY problem, or MY self-centeredness, instead of hers. He might wish to use ME to help meet his or her needs…

 

True, I had been wronged. But so was Jesus, many times. He was hurt, He was slandered, He was misunderstood, He was lied to…he was murdered.

 

Jesus prayed for his enemies. But his prayers weren't like mine had been. His prayers were something like…

 

 

Forgive them, Father, for they do not know what they do…

 

 

In Jesus' prayers, He didn't condemn…He just loved.

 

I needed to see my own reflection in that window prayer -- more than that, I needed a MIRROR prayer before I could pray correctly for my friend.

 

Oh, Father, that really hurt, I will admit. It even hurt my pride! Forgive my anger and self-pity. Forgive my pride. Help me to love her through this..to love as Jesus loves.

 

And bless her, Lord. I know she didn't really mean to hurt me. Help her, because I know that life is really hard for her right now. Help her to feel Your presence. Help her to know that she always has a friend in me, because I want to be like YOU, Father. I truly just want to be like You.

 

I'm sad to say that this kind of prayer took awhile.

 

But one thing I did right-I knew in my heart that my attitude and my prayers weren't right. I had no peace in my prayer time. So, I asked the Father for help. For direction…

 

So what do I do, Father? How do I react toward this? Help me to know how to handle this. Teach me to pray…I want to hear from You, Father…

 

Have you ever waited and waited to hear from someone you love? When Bracken went away to boot camp, we knew that we would have to wait to hear from him before we could receive his address and write to him. As his mom, I wanted to write him daily, to encourage him through boot camp…I knew my son's experiences would be difficult, and a little scary…but I had to wait to hear from him.

 

I remember when we got his first letter. All of us piled around the couch while I opened the letter and began to read. I struggled to get through his letter without crying. We all had lumps in our throats at his words…we were so glad to hear from him! Even though his experiences were tough, and he was having a hard time adjusting, we still rejoiced -- because he was writing to us! Those were his own words! We were holding a letter written for us that had come from his own hand! It was so precious to me that I kept the letter in my Bible for many days, and now, it is in a safe place in my drawer.

 

Have you ever asked for the Lord's help, and then waited and waited to hear from Him? Were you listening carefully?

 

When I was a child, I heard a pastor say that I was supposed to listen to God. I didn't really understand that…was He going to speak out loud to me? If He did, then I knew that I would probably jump out of my skin, or die of a heart attack! I couldn't imagine how Moses must have felt when God called him out loud through that burning bush! No wonder he took off his shoes! He probably jumped right out of them in fright!

 

I remember telling the Lord that I would be quiet and listen to Him each night after I prayed. But I asked Him if He would please speak to me before I turned out the light -- otherwise He would probably scare me into eternity!

 

Well, I never heard Him speak out loud. So, when I would hear grown-ups say, "God told me this or that…", I felt inferior. I felt like I didn't have the same "edge" on God that they did.

 

Have you ever felt that way? Well, it's just not true -- God doesn't love some more than others. God loves all of us the same, and wants to speak to all of us.

 

What I didn't realize in my young faith was that God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit and through His Word. And sometimes He speaks through life experiences and other believers.

 

Of course, we could have a burning bush experience if God wanted us to! He can certainly speak out loud! But more than that, it seems that God uses a still, small voice…

 

…and His letter to us…His Word.

 

What if, when I had received Bracken's letter, I had rejoiced in receiving it, but never opened it? What if I just held it, carried it around, or left it on a table to gather dust?

 

Then, I would have never received the knowledge about his well-being. I would have never received his address so that we could communicate.

 

As I have grown in Christ, I have come to understand that a huge part of my listening to God is in reading and meditating on His Word.

 

So, it was through my perseverance in prayer, and through this listening time that God taught me how to pray for my friend, and how to really love her.

 

You see, in my quiet time one morning, I began to read from…

 

 

II Corinthians 2: beginning in verse 5…

But if anyone has caused grief…

 

 

Hey…already I knew the Father was speaking to me. Someone had definitely caused me grief. In fact, I had agonized over this situation for way too long.

 

 

…you ought rather to forgive and comfort him (or her), lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up
with too much sorrow.
Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love to him (or her!)…
…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant to his devices.

 

 

Wow. These words from that passage jumped right off the page and into my heart. I knew that God was definitely speaking to me. Was I listening? Because you see, true listening involves action. I must act upon the Word that the Father had just spoken to me.

 

Then, in a gentle way, the Lord brought to my mind the words that I had been "skipping over" in my feeble attempt to obey Matthew 5…

 

 

…bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you…

 

 

Already 3 commands of action had been given to me from the Father: comfort, bless, and do good.

 

Well it sure didn't seem like I could "cool off" toward her, and still do those things…those things which honor the Father.

 

And what would happen to me if I refused?

 

Then, according to Paul in II Corinthians 2:11, Satan could take advantage of me! I must not be ignorant of his ways.

 

Already, I felt that Satan had gained a foothold. My prayer life had not honored God -- I was nursing resentment and bitterness in my heart for my friend, and my prayers were hindered because of the sin in my heart.

 

Since then, in obedience to His Word, I have reached out to my friend. I have tried to encourage her, comfort her, and do good to her. With God's help, I am able to love her wholeheartedly! I am able to put my heart out there for her again, exposed and willing.

 

No, I can't do this on my own. But with Christ in me, I can do those things which bring honor to His Name.
And my friend? Is she different? Not too much.

 

But she is loved…by the Father,

 

…and by me.




 

 

 



 

 

 

Copyright © 2012. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com




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