When we’ve been hurt by another person and it’s not fixed, what do we do? When they neither seem to notice what they have done wrong, nor care about the misery they have inflicted, let alone say they’re sorry, how do we deal with it?
Often our reaction to pain is anger and we want to hurt back. The thought of forgiving our adversary seems impossible to do. But, more than that, harboring bitterness and resentment make our lives miserable. We don’t want to be bound by the chains of discord; we want to be free to be peacemakers.
Where do we find the strength to excuse offenses committed against us and pardon the offender? How do we go one step further and love the person we vehemently dislike?
When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, says Matthew 5:44 (MSG)
So why does the Bible tell us to respond to our enemies with prayer? What difference does prayer make to a relationship that is out of sync?
When we turn to prayer our attention becomes more about God and less about us.
- Changes the orientation of our hearts to be turned outward to God instead of inward on ourselves.
- Shifts our perspective from self-preservation to relying on God’s transformation.
- Challenges us to grow in obedience to God’s will and become more like the children of God we should be.
We can use prayer in our challenging relationships so we see a breakthrough in our feelings and an improvement in the relationships.
Being vengeful and unforgiving is not our business; they are God’s concern. Instead, mercy and forgiveness are the duty of a child of God, as they are the obligation of a perfect heavenly Father.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous, says Matthew 5:45.
Yet, it’s hard to forgive and it’s even more difficult to love a person who has wronged you.
We have to work at forgiveness in prayer, but when we do, in the end, it brings us peace and gives God the glory.
I have prayed day after day for many months for a relationship that seems unfixable. But, eventually the animosity that kept my heart and mind captive has gone. Now, I’m in a position to love the person who seemed so unlovable.
I invite you to take the practical steps towards forgiveness and love in the Tough Love Prayer Challenge. I’m excited for you to discover this transformational approach to your difficult relationships.
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What if the one you are angry at, the one who you are having a hard time or can’t forgive is God?
Hi Dannie, my suggestion is if you’re angry with God to talk to him about it. Although you could talk to other people about how you feel regarding God, some might not be able to handle it or understand. But, I believe God is big enough to be able to take everything that we bring to him. I hope that helps.
Oh, I’ve told him. Many times.
Hi Rachel, This is something I need to work on, praying for those who are difficult or angry with me or even disagree. I have had to let go of some things and I hope the Lord will just heal old wounds.
Hi Rebecca. Hope you’ve joined the Tough Love Prayer Challenge. It will give you some steps to work through in prayer.
My relationship with my family has been difficult since the beginning of time. I continue to pray about it, however, removing myself from it all together is what I had to do for my own peace of mind and emotional health. 2 Timothy 2:24 tells me to avoid strife at all cost.
Yvonne, it is so hard to live with a long term difficult relationship, especially when it is one’s own family. I believe you are doing the right thing removing yourself so you can be emotionally healthier. I hope you will find greater peace as you pray through the Tough Love Prayer Challenge.
My relationship with my oldest sister is very strained. I don’t think she likes me very much. She talks about me and my husband behind our backs. She tried to throw me out of my mother’s house when she passed away. I don’t want to continue a relationship with her because I think it is unhealthy. I do want some inner peace though.
Jamie, I hope through the Tough Love Prayer Challenge you will find the inner peace you so desire. We are promised peace when we bring our anxiety to God. “Do not be anxious… pray” says Philippians 4:6-7, “then the peace of God… will guard your hearts.” Pray and keep God to His promise of giving you peace.
“When we turn to prayer our attention becomes more about God and less about us.” So, so good and true. Thanks, Rachel, for pointing our eyes back to Jesus and off of ourselves.
And starting our prayers by focusing on God’s greatness is a good way to do this, isn’t it? Thanks, Lisa
The amazing reality is that God *does* act when we pray, and things *do* change. Inside us, and in circumstances/relationships as well.
Thank you Susan for your positive and uplifting comment. Yes, God does act and things change, we change and I have experienced the other people changing, too.