Be Honest about your Enemies

1Let God arise and let his enemies scatter!
Let all those who hate him flee from him.
2Blow them away like smoke.
As wax melts before a fire,
so let the wicked perish before God.
3But let the righteous be joyful and rejoice,
Let them rejoice gladly before God! — Psalm 68:1-3

Do you ever feel like you need to sanitize your emotions? I think that many times we all fell like we have to pretend, or even convince ourselves that we have forgiven someone so that we can approach God properly in prayer. We know Jesus told us to love our enemies, we’re disciples, so we must be forgiving! We may even pretend that we have never been offended in the first place, such is the grace that we just know must be in our hearts.

The problem is that it’s a lot harder to actually feel that kind of grace than it is to pretend. Very often we go ahead and live with the pretending. Then we wonder why the problem keeps right on coming back.

You’ll never forgive if you don’t acknowledge that something wrong has been done. You’ll never come to love your enemies, if you don’t acknowledge how you felt about them when they were becoming your enemies or actually were your enemies.

I’m not advocating here letting your anger out by yelling or beating on something. I understand that psychologists these days don’t really believe that helps. I’m no psychologist, so I won’t argue with them. I do know that acknowledging a problem, any problem, is one step forward in a solution. An unacknowledged problem can never be solved.

The Psalms provide good material to use here. There are angry prayers and well as nice gentle ones. There are unforgiving prayers as well as forgiving ones. The one person you can safely tell precisely how you feel is God. He knows anyhow, and he can handle it.

So when you go to the Lord, if you’re wondering why he doesn’t scatter your enemies and provide a clear path for you, pray for it. Ask him to help. If you can’t forgive someone, tell God. You can say, “I’m trying but I can’t do it. Give me grace.” Then be gracious to yourself as well. You may not attain to saintly patience and forgiveness in one prayer. It may be that the next time you pray you have to tell God, “You know that person I wanted to forgive? Well, I still hate him, and can’t forgive. Help me!” And continue being gracious to yourself.

God is never surprised by human nature. He made it. He knows it. He understands it. He’s prepared to redeem it. Just acknowledge the need for redemption!

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