We cannot understand (#2 of 2 linked prayers)

God is greater than we can understand
(Job 36:26; NLT). 

We cannot understand
Your peace,
So we persist in fighting
Senseless wars.

We cannot comprehend
Your love,
So we persist in prejudice,
And hate.

We cannot understand
Your truth,
So we persist in ignorance,
And lies.

We cannot comprehend
Your wrath,
So we persist in leaving change
Too late.

🧡

His wrath is poured out like fire
(Nahum 1:6; NIV).

Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late
(Jeremiah 36:7; NLT).


Your light streams out

“Don’t they know?” asks the Lord. “Are all these evildoers ignorant? They live by robbing my people, and they never pray to me”
(Psalm 14:4; GNT).

Lord,
Your light streams out
To show the way,
Yet we would rather slip and fall,
Than pray.

Your truth streams out
To help with every task,
Yet we would rather fail, alone,
Than ask.

Lord,
Your peace streams out
To end all strife,
Yet we would rather hate,
And waste this life.

Your love streams out
To heal each barren soul,
Yet we would rather kill
Than be made whole.

Lord,
Your fire streams out
To cleanse all blame,
Yet we would rather die
Than face our shame.

Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him
(Ephesians 4:18; NLT).

____________________________

Come back soon


O Lord, come back to us!
(Psalm 90:13; NLT).

Lord,
Come back soon
To make us whole,
For we are lost in pain.
Our lives are ruled
By suffering;
We long for health, in vain.

Lord,
Come back soon
To change our minds,
For we are lost in sin.
Our lives are ruled
By selfishness,
Forgetting you, our King.

Lord,
Come back soon
To heal our hearts,
For we are lost in hate.
Our lives are ruled
By prejudice;
We spurn your narrow gate.

Lord,
Come back soon
To save our souls,
For we must all repent;
Then trust in you,
Transform our lives,
And love the One you sent.

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17; NLT).


Despite my pride

You deserve to be punished. But I will treat you in a way that will bring honour to my name, and you will know that I am the Lord God
(Ezekiel 20:44; CEV).

Despite my pride
And ignorance,
Despite my envy, Lord;

Despite my greed
And foolishness,
Despite my judgements, Lord;

Despite my hate
And selfishness,
Despite my anger, Lord;

Despite my guilt
And sinfulness:
You love me.

He loves us with unfailing love
(Psalm 117:2; NLT).


Prayer

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

Lord,
I pray for all those who are cold,
Hungry, thirsty, fearful,
Or in pain.

Lord,
I pray for all those who are sick,
Homeless, sad, awaiting help,
In vain.

Lord,
I pray for all those who are poor,
Abused, enslaved,
Whose sorrow never ends.

Help me, Lord, like you,
To care for all,
While loving those who hate me,
As my friends.

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT).

Beyond all time

All glory to him who alone is God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time (Jude 1:25; NLT).

1. Beyond all time,
Beyond all space,
Is God, who makes
The human race.

2. Amidst all gain,
Amidst all loss,
Is God, who suffers
On the cross.

3. Within all love,
Within all hate,
Is God, who saves
The desolate.

4. Beneath all depth,
Above all height,
Concealed in darkness,
God is light.


References

1. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth
(Isaiah 42:5; NLT).

2. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens
(Psalm 68:19; NIV).

3. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed
(Psalm 34:18; NLT).

4. Clouds and thick darkness surround him
(Psalm 97:2; NIV).

God is light
(1 John 1:5; NLT).

Forgiveness

Image: Victoria_Borodinova, Pixabay

🖤

Whenever you pray,
forgive anything you have against anyone.
(Mark 11:25; GW).

1. It can take all our life
To forgive those who hurt us –
A parent, a partner,
A stranger, a friend;

2. But that’s why we’re here,
Though it’s such a big challenge –
To learn to forgive, and let go,
In the end.

3. It can take us a lifetime
To love those who hate us –
To bless them, do good for them,
Pray for them, too;

4. But that’s why we’re here,
Though it’s such a hard task –
For we can’t be like Jesus, our Lord,
Till we do.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,
for they don’t know what they are doing”
(Luke 23:34; NLT).

🖤


References

1. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you (Matthew 6:14; NLT).

2. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:15; NLT).

3. To you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT).

4. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him (1 John 3:2; NLT).

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NIV).

Forgiveness

Image: The Betrayal, by Ugolino di Nerio, Yandex

❤️

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,
the one who shared my food, has turned against me
(Psalm 41:9; NLT).

1. Help me, Lord,
To bless all those who curse me,
And to pray for all those
Who berate me.

2. Help me to forgive
All those who hurt me,
And, Lord, to do good
To those who hate me.

3. Help me turn my cheek
To those who bruise me,
And, like you, to love those
Who abuse me.

Father, forgive them,
for they don’t know what they are doing
(Luke 23:34; NLT).


References

1. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:28; NLT).

2. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you (Matthew 6:14; NLT).

Do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27; NLT).

3. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also (Luke 6:29; NLT).

He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered (1 Peter 2:23; NLT).

Love your enemies (Luke 6:27; NLT).

We are patient with those who abuse us (1 Corinthians 4:12; NLT).

Look!

Image: Laurent Verdier, Pixabay


🖤

They look, but they don’t really see
(Matthew 13:13; NLT).

1. Look at our world –
At our conflict and strife.

2. Look, for our greed
Is destroying all life.

3. Look at our hate –
We’ve forgotten God’s way.

4. Look, see the truth,
Ask forgiveness, and pray.

Image: Nicole Schüler, Pixabay


References

1. The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord (Psalm 14:2-4; NIV).

2. From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed (Jeremiah 6:13; NLT).

You did not reflect on your actions or think about their consequences (Isaiah 47:7; NLT).

3. Hatred stirs up quarrels (Proverbs 10:12; NLT).

They have chosen crooked paths and have forgotten the Lord their God (Jeremiah 3:21; NLT).

God’s way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31; NLT).

Follow the way of love (1 Corinthians 14:1; NIV).

4. You will look back on all the ways you defiled yourselves, and will hate yourselves because of the evil you have done (Ezekiel 20:43; NLT).

Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late (Jeremiah 36:7; NLT).

Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

My dilemma

Image: 412designs, Pixabay


Introduction

Two people have hurt me badly in the last few weeks. In both cases, after some thought, I was honest with those involved, expressing my response as lovingly as I could. However, they both reacted with anger and blame. Sadly, offering to meet for reconciliation has brought no response.

Since then, I repeatedly go over all that happened, which generates a constant, painful, and exhausting sense of dread.

The crux of my anxiety is that when someone hurts me, I don’t know whether I should speak out, or say nothing. Each approach has different consequences.


What did Jesus say and do?

As always, I look for guidance in Jesus’ teaching and example. However, he taught, and displayed, both outspoken and silent ways of responding to hurt and injustice, which I find confusing.

Until his arrest, Jesus always spoke the truth in love when people criticised or insulted him. He was, in fact, very direct. His honesty made him a lot of enemies, and contributed to his death.

After his arrest, Jesus said very little, no matter what he was accused of, and how he was treated. This puzzled his captors, perhaps antagonising them even more.

Over the years, I’ve tried both approaches. What happens when I follow Christ’s example in these two, very different, ways?


A. Speaking out

When I “speak the truth in love”, it almost always backfires. The person I’ve been honest with turns on me, angrily blaming me for what I said, even though it was their own hurtful behaviour towards me that I spoke about. I then react to their hostility with my characteristic chronic dread.


B. Saying nothing

When I say nothing, I simply allow the other person to hurt me, absorbing the pain and damage, just as I did with my emotionally abusive mother. Without feedback, of course, there is a risk that they may continue to damage me. This makes me feel helpless and powerless, worsening my chronic depression.

Either way, I can easily end up feeling as if life is not worth living.


Forgiveness

Fortunately, Jesus is absolutely clear that whether we speak out or say nothing, we should always forgive those who hurt us. This applies even if they never recognise what they have done, and never say they are sorry.


Conclusion

When people hurt me, I ruminate endlessly about how I responded, and what went wrong. Whether I speak out or say nothing, the outcome is equally damaging for my mental health.

Worse still, I also feel guilty for having “caused” the other person to strike back angrily at me, and to hate me from then onwards.

So, when someone hurts me, should I speak out, or say nothing? I still don’t know the answer to this question, which has plagued me all my life. All I can do is to pray for those who hurt me, asking God to guide and heal us all.

Image: Himsan, Pixabay


References

Introduction

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me (Psalm 41:9; NLT).


What did Jesus say and do?

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:33; NIV).

The leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise (Mark 15:3-5; NLT).

If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:23-4; NLT).


A. Speaking out

Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV.

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:27; NIV).


B. Saying nothing

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7; NLT).

You have taken away my companions and my loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me (Psalm 42:7;NIV).

Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? (Job 3:16; NLT).


Forgiveness

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there [and] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV).

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25; NLT).


Conclusion

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT)

The Lord of Hosts […] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29; NKJV).

He will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT).

Image: czu_czu_PL, Pixabay