Your whole life has been thrown into turmoil. You have been removed from your position that you love due to lies and political power plays. You have no support from the leadership of an organization that is supposed to back you. You have been set up to be the sacrificial lamb. You have made sacrifices for the people you are seeking to help and all they do is stab you in the back. You are forced out of your home. You lose your primary source of income. You are 64 years of age and no one seems willing to hire you. How do you feel? You are hurt! You are angry! How do you feel toward those who seem to be the cause of your pain?
Thoughts begin to fill your mind. They are there when you are awake and follow you into your dreams. These thoughts are not nice. Some a filled with wishes of tragedy. Some are self-destructive. Some of the thoughts are filled with ideas of vengeance, of ill thoughts, bad thoughts. But, here is the problem:
“But love your enemies” (Lk. 6:35 NRS)
“bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Lk. 6:28 NRS)”
Your faith is meaningful. Your faith is the center of your desire. Your faith is important, yet your faith and you desire to be obedient is in a struggle with your mind. You want to pray for those who were instrumental for your pain, but, when you are not on your guard, when you are going through the activities and actions of your life, those thoughts come back again and again.
Your practice the pattern you learn: Repent, Rebuke, and Replace over and over, but still the challenge is there.
Do not despair. God knows our struggles. Contemplative prayer does help!
It was through prayer that the following illustration came into my life. It was a series of questions I believe came from God’s Spirit working in my life. These are the questions that helped me.
- How do you love someone when you are hurt.
- Who hurt you? Why did this hurt?
- Why do you think they hurt you?
- Do you think that they carry any hurt? Can you know if they hurt.
- How do you feel when others are hurting and living with a pain?
- Can you pray for those who are hurting?
- Your hurt is likely part of a chain of pain. Do you want that chain to continue through you?
- Do you think God experiences pain? Does God experience the pain of others?
- Do you care about the pain God must experience?
- Do you understand God knows your pain and feels it?
- Does God want to ease pain in the lives of people? Can God heal the pain?
- Can you, will you, draw a better picture and perspective from these questions?
After this, the thoughts came less and less and the peace grows stronger every day. I am discovering new and wonderful ways God uses bad intentions by others for good in my own life. Thus, faith increases. Amen.