Lament and Prayer: An Option to Dealing With Others….
Devotional Thought of The Day:
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! 38 And so your Temple will be abandoned and empty. 39 From now on, I tell you, you will never see me again until you say, ‘God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “ Matthew 23:37-39 (TEV)
14 “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. 15 I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. 16 When that day comes,” says the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’ Hosea 2:14-16 (NLT)
In the last few days, I have seen behavior that causes me to mourn. That needs to be rephrased, I see behaviours hat cause me to mourn, and indeed, cause me to want to pray.
It starts with someone who writes or proposes something that is heretical, or so close to it that it does not matter. In a couple of these cases, (there isn’t just one) it has been pastors or professors who have denied Christ’s existence. Yet would stay “in the ministry” because it is not about Him. It is about the people, he claims. Not about God and His people.
The pain they cause is real. Even from a distance, those who value their relationship with Christ, the hope gained by knowing and trusting Him, feel immense pain. The reaction is to strike out. We find ourselves judging such men, mocking them, condemning them in our hearts and attempting to in the court of public opinion. We feel their betrayal of God as a betrayal of all we stand for, and we do not know how to respond. I’ve even read of some praying, no, cursing them in the name of God.
So we meet evil head on, by doing evil in return. Like in days of old we symbolically rip our clothes, and consdier them dead to us. We shun them. Okay, really we don’t – we try to get close enough to “kill” them with our words, to do battle with their viewpoint and crush it under our superious knowledge, and if that doesn’t work, by our castic wit.
I have an option for dealing with our pain, with the betrayal, with those who have thrown away and tried to crush our Spirit.
Rather than react to them, I suggest we weep and mourn for them. We cry out to God the Father, just as jesus did! We need to lament and pray and intercede, that they would know God’s love, that they would find healing as the Holy Spirit comforts and strengthens them. In order for a person to come to a heretical position or notion, something has broken. Something has deluded them, something is holding them in bondage. Something they are most likely blind too, caught up in the darkness. To mock and curse them is like putting tripping hazards before a blind man.
It is a sin.
Can we mourn for them, can we weep and intercede fo them in prayer? Can we desire their reconciliation to God? Can we like Hosea’s chasing after Gomer, as the Father’s sending the Son to die, can we go beyond our brokenness to engage them, to confront them directly, in love?
Can we encourage those who would judge, mock condemn and curse them to pray for them, to be prepared to even sacrifice time to pray, and if led to , to lovingly confront those who are erring?
Which reaction testifies to God’s glory and action in our lives? Which option tells others of our confidence in the mercy and love of Christ?
We need to learn to lament, to pray, to plead for their souls…. and to love them. It is for this that we’ve been called, that we would walk in the steps of Christ.