One of the things Jesus told us was

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt 5:44)

It isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Often times, our flesh gets in the way. We feel someone wronged us, perhaps they actually did, and we want God to punish that person, not bless them. After all, why should we want to see good things happen to someone who just harmed us?

I would like to give you a real world example I am wrestling with. I lost my job over a year ago. I didn’t get unemployment. I blew through my entire savings. I am struggling to make ends meet. A couple of days ago, I stepped out on my back porch and realized someone stole my pressure washer. It was a Huskie 1550 PSI electric washer I bought just before losing my job. I only got to use it 2 or 3 times.

As a side note: earlier this year, someone came into my back yard and stole a rose bush. Yes, they acually took the time to dig up a small bush I bought for $5 or $10 at Wal-mart. So, this theft made me feel doubly betrayed in my small town of Decatur, Alabama.

When I realized someone stole my pressure washer, I sat down. I admit I felt hurt, violated. I wanted to cry. No, I wanted to curse. But I prayed, “God, please get me to the place where I can forgive this person and ask that you bless them.” Then the thought came to me. As we forgive, so are we forgiven. I admit it, I didn’t feel it right then, but I continued my prayer and asked God, “Please, LORD, let me forgive this person. Please bless them.” Over the past couple of days, I have continued to ask for God’s blessing upon this person. It is my sincere hope that God will bless this person with a job or money so they do not have to go around stealing from people who are also facing hard times. I hope God will forgive the person. Hell is a horrible place and going there because you didn’t want to work to buy a  pressure washer that was only $100-$150 would be a shame. So, I pray God forgives him. And I pray God blesses this person with a conscience. And that God will bless the person with salvation.

Praying this way not only helps me to forgive the person–so I feel better–but it also blesses others I do not know.

If God should bless this person as I have asked, it means other people will not have things stolen from them. So, they are blessed. It may also save the thief’s life. Recently, a teen was shot and killed when he broke into a man’s house. As this thief goes around stealing, he might try to steal from the wrong person and get shot. This blessing would not only keep the homeowner’s conscience clear from having killed someone over something small, but it would also save the thief’s family the grief and expense of burying a loved one. Perhaps this person will even father a great man of God if he lives long enough. I don’t know.

I do know that when we pray for those who despitefully use us, when we bless those that curse us, we are also asking God’s blessing upon many others we do not know. We may never see God’s blessings in these lives, but we can rest assured they are there.

If you’ve been wronged, if someone has injured you, I encourage you to pray for that person. Don’t pray that God will punish or hurt them. Pray that God will bless them. You’ll feel better and you’ll be helping more people than you know.

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