19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12: 19 – 21 NLT
Early in my career I experienced unpleasant teaching experiences at two schools. One school had a number of professors who did not appreciate change. The other had deans who continually piled more and more work on the already overworked professors. Both experiences left me deeply scarred. I was angry and hurt about the way I had been treated.
Part of me wanted to hold on to these negative emotions and let them fester. The other part of me realized that this was contrary to God’s command. He wanted me to let it go of the frustration, hurt, bewilderment – all of my negative emotions. I was to replace them with love and prayer for these former colleagues, who I viewed as my enemies. This proved to be a challenging endeavor, but with each prayer I said for them, my suffering faded a bit more.
I know that with time I will be at peace with these past experiences and those who hurt me. It will not happen as soon as I would like, but God is working on my heart, allowing me to bestow on my enemies the same love and forgiveness that he bestows on me daily.
Prayer: Gracious Father, soften my heart towards those who hurt me. Please heal me and help me to feel your strength and guidance as I learn to forgive them. Amen.
Are you harboring negative feelings towards someone? Have you prayed for that person lately?