Meditating on Psalm 109.
In return for my love they are my accusers,
But I give myself to prayer.
5 Thus they have rewarded me evil for good,
And hatred for my love. (Ps. 109: 4-5)
I read Psalm 109 and I get acquainted with this dark prayer of David. The psalms do contain glorious praises and faithful devotion to the God Almighty, but they also carry outpourings from a soul suffering in the dark, in desperate straits, and its prayers turn to curses to un-bless one’s enemies. Verse upon verse, the psalmist pronounces venom upon his enemies, his petitions to God.
As he loved cursing, so let it come to him;
As he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him. (v. 17)
David was deeply hurt by someone he loved and respected, someone whom he had shown kindness to. He was betrayed by his friend/s, accusing him and spewing out words of hatred that cut deep. And this drove him to curse instead of to bless.
I thought to myself, “But I will never offer up prayer to curse someone no matter how much I’ve been hurt!” Then, I thought about the amazing love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 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, 45 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. (Matt. 5: 43-45, emphasis added)
This is what the merciful Lord teaches us and it is what I embrace.
But He gently reminded me of something painful that happened not so long ago. He walked me through it once again and showed me how weak I could be if not for His grace.
Like David, I was deeply hurt by someone I have loved and shown goodness to. Betrayal by someone you have considered family is a nasty thing that could creep into one’s heart and lodge there like a venom. Like what David received in return for his love and kindness, I, too, was a recipient of strong, hurtful words, a haughty look, an angry walk-out, and a slamming of the door that finally sent ripples of trembling to a heart that has been wounded.
Always, the most painful part of this is – when you know you don’t deserve it.
For a time, I struggled, my soul wrestling between forgiveness and hurt and hate. I wanted to live out the Word even in the midst of great pain, so I sent a message of apology (that maybe my reminders to her were misunderstood) and showed her that humility is the way of a true follower of Christ. But she remained proud and worthy of my deep resentment.
For a season, I was torn between my deep desire to forgive and my spirit’s cry for revenge. All my prayers were steeped with forgiveness and requests that God will be the one to teach her her much-needed lesson of humility. I prayed and prayed amidst weeping, for God to help me forgive truly, from the heart, and not only from my lips, doing it out of obedience to the Lord Jesus’ teachings. For my heart and mind cried out justice. Amidst my earnest prayers, my heart spouted out resentment and ill will.
But I didn’t want to pray David’s prayer of un-blessing. I wanted to pray Jesus’ blessing for the enemy. So, my prayers were offered for me, that God will take away all resentments and ill will and replace them with mercy. Yes, mercy. His mercy that could spill out to the “enemy”. Mercy in the form of genuine forgiveness even without her asking for it.
But You, O GOD the Lord,
Deal with me for Your name’s sake;
Because Your mercy is good, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
And my heart is wounded within me.
Help me, O Lord my God!
Oh, save me according to Your mercy. (vv. 21, 22, 26)
The prayers we offer for the sake of the one who has wronged us are actually prayers of salvation and deliverance for our own souls.
Agonizing prayers and the light of the Word – these will banish the heart’s desire to curse. After this winter of the soul, genuine mercy came to lodge.
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Journey with Jesus,