Since then, the week has been full of work drama and weirdness. I was in a bit of a frenzied panic - the kind I whirled into after the death of my boss last year. I found myself wrestling with a bunch of fears and questions.
First, I didn't know what to do with my anger. Where do I put it? Should I lash out at someone? No, I thought. I should take it to the Lord, to his cross. God said, "Vengeance is Mine" (Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19). He is the Judge and will judge justly in the last day. I need to trust in His perfect justice and quiet my soul. "Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me." Psalm 131
Also, Jesus taught, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?"
So, I tried to pray for them. But I didn't want to. I felt that they were too evil to pray for. But then I remembered two things. First, that God forgave MY sins. By thinking of this other person as horribly wicked and undeserving of prayer, I was somehow mentally elevating myself as "better" or "less wretched" than them and "more deserving" of God's favor. "Are we better than they? Not at all." (Romans 3:9) "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus". In the eyes of God, my seemingly petty sins are just as wretched as the sins of murderers. I need as much grace as them and I need it in the same way - in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. That brought to mind a picture of Jesus on the cross. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor 5:21 Yes, I can pray for my enemy who is evil because I am in Christ - a sinner saved only by the undeserved grace of God. Praise the Lord! "I will walk by faith / even when I cannot see / because this broken road / prepares Your will for me." Jeremy Camp's Walk by Faith
"Ah, LORD...I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm." Jonah 4:2 (Exodus 34:5-7)
"The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer's feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills." Habakkuk 3:19
On the theme of God's new covenant mercy: sermon on Ezekiel 36