I recently had someone assert some false claims about me to some other people. As you can imagine, I was upset when I found out. “How can she say that?! That is so wrong and such a lie!” I thought to myself, feeling frustrated (to use a positive word) by her false claims.
So what did I do? I sought out an ally and texted my husband who was in class. My fingers moved quickly across my cell-phone keypad as I typed the following message to him:
“Mike, is it OK to pray that God convicts someone for her wrong claims against me? If so, please join me in prayer because I have already started praying for justice!”
I waited for his text back to ask me what happened and then side with me. I know we’ve all done it: called up a friend to “vent” and agree with us that the other person is totally in the wrong. I didn’t think about it in this way when I texted my husband, but no doubt that is what I was doing. Well, regardless, my wonderful husband definitely shut that door! Once I heard that delightful “bing-bing-bingaling” sound indicating he had responded, I read his text:
“You should always be careful when praying for justice, and try to lean toward mercy. When we pray about other people’s faults, He will usually show us ours first. love you.”
“Oh,” I thought, “I meant that as a rhetorical question…” I didn’t expect him to respond to my question with God’s truth. I received his words of wisdom and am so grateful that he speaks them to me. We are quick to blame others and point out their wrongdoings. It is not that we can’t pray for justice – there are many situations I can think of that would be appropriate for that kind of prayer. Holy anger is not a sin. But my anger wasn’t “holy” even if I tried to excuse it beneath someone else’s wrongdoing.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-3 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”
Was I in the wrong? Not initially; her assertions were wrong and she should not have lied. But regardless, I needed to pray for my heart so that I wouldn’t get bitter and resent her. After all, I am only accountable to my responses, my actions, my thoughts. And I need to love God by loving others and not praying judgment over them, but rather blessings.
I texted my husband back and asked for prayer again…but this time I asked him to pray for me. And God softened my heart toward her and enabled me to love her in my thoughts and through my actions. If you are in a place of resentment or anger, I encourage you to pray first for your heart, asking Him to forgive you and enable you to forgive your offenders. Then, pray for God to bless that person and call them to Himself – not just so their eyes would be opened to their sin, but so their eyes would be opened to His grace and salvation.