I read a very sad story in one of my CafeMom groups today about a woman pregnant with twins who was killed in a tragic car accident along with her unborn babies on Christmas Eve. The mom who posted this story was full of anger towards the woman who caused the accident, and the resulting conversation between us got me thinking about praying for those who have wronged us.
Most of us pray for those we love. We pray for family members who are ill, we praise God when something good happens. We pray for our friends, and we even pray for people we don't know who are suffering. But how often do we pray for those who cause the suffering?
It is very easy to say "I hate that person for what they have done" whether it be a terroristic world leader, our own president (former, current, or -elect), a criminal, or even someone close to us who has grievously wronged us. But how easy is it to forgive them? How easy is it to pray for them?
Forgiveness is not an automatic "Pass Go - Collect $200." It does not mean that we should automatically be BFF with the person. It means that we have acknowledged that a wrong has been committed, accept that it can't be taken back, and move forward. Whether moving forward involves reconcilement or estrangement is up to the situation and people involved.
But forgiveness is only a part of the command to "love our enemies." We should also pray for them. It can be as simple as "Please Lord, let that driver who just cut me off realize what he has done and repent" or "Please Lord, don't let that reckless and dangerous driver cause a fatal accident." I am learning how to pray for someone who has wronged me, my family, and my extended family. I don't ever want to see this person again, and especially don't want him near my son, but I ask that he come to know the error of his ways--that he will see how he is hurting those around him.
When I pray these prayers, I begin to feel a bit better about the situation. I put the problem in God's hands and it ends up being one more burden that I no longer have to carry.
"Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."