11 April, 2006

Does God Ever Annoy You? (part 5)

In the ongoing saga of my journey with Christ, there are things about God that just annoy me to no end. In recent weeks I have wrote about these ways where God was annoying me:
1) He expects me to give my money away.
2) He is not particularly interested in making ME look good, so long as HE looks good.
3) He expects me to forgive if I want to receive His forgiveness.

4) He expets me to respond with love and patience... even when I don't feel like it.

Today I want to add number 5.
God really annoys me because he thinks I should pray for my enemies.
(This one REALLY gets my goat!)

I can deal with walking away when I feel like tearing into them.
I can deal with forgiving them.
But that's not enough... God wants me to pray for them!
And by that he does not mean that I pray that God "gets them" but rather that I pray for their safety, for their souls, for their well being.
God wants me to bless them!
Man, I want to see them get what's coming to them. I want to see them wallow in their suffering. I want to see them squirm until they realize how pitiful and worthless they are.
(Don't judge me... you've thought the same things about your enemies... admit it!)
But God wants me to pray for them, and bless them.

I recently went through a situation where someone was saying some vicious things about me to others, and it just enraged me (as well as hurt me) and I was ready to get them. I was ready to go confront them, to have it out with them and to humiliate them in the same public setting where they were trashing my name. But God would not allow it. He woke me up early on Sunday morning and dealt with me about this, and kept telling me to bless this person.
I did not want to! I wanted revenge! I began to pray, "Lord, I'll leave it in your hands, you get them. You tear them up. Inflict them with hemoroids or something Lord.... just get them!"
But God said, "I want you to bless them."
I thought, "You are so not funny Lord!"
But I have begun to pray blessings on this person. I still find myself thinking, "Lord, maybe just a good case of the runs or something?"
It's in our nature. We want revenge!

There is a verse of scripture that we often use to justify ourselves for these feelings we have and for asking God to "get them."
It is found in
12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

The problem is, we have misunderstood this verse. It is telling us to bless our enemies and be kind to them, with a pure heart, not one motivated with revenge!
The last part of that verse says "for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head is not talking about harming them. In the age that this was written, everyone understood the kindness offered here, but in 2006 it loses some meaning in the translation and our understanding. In Bible days, they heated and cooked with fire. They did not have a Bic lighter or matches laying around, and it was hard work to get a good fire burning, so , most people keep a small fire, or buring coals going at all times. This made it easier to stoke the fire and cook dinner, rather than to have to build a fresh fire at each meal.

Often times, someones fire would go out, and rather than start a new fire, they would go to a friend or neighbor and borrow from their fire a few burning coals which they would take back to their home and build their fire from. They usually carried these hot coals in a specially designed pot that was fitted on their heads allowing them to carry the hot coals without being burned or having to deal with the smoke. These coals were referred to as "coals of kindness" as you shared your fire so that your neighbor would not have to work extra hard to build a new fire. So you see, Jesus was not saying to be kind to them so that they begin feeling guilty about what they had done. He was saying be kind to them simply to bless them.

Jesus said:

Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, 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;

Yep, that's what he said, that's what he meant then and means today.
Like it or not... I have to bless them and pray for them.

Once again Lord, I am trying!


michigan preacher said...

Oh, yea, this would definitely be classified as "annoying"! I know I've been there. You have to admit, Darrell, that the blessings that come from being obedient and loving in this way are great though. I wouldn't trade my peace for anything.

Great post today. Are you doing a series on when God annoys us at your church? If not, this would be a good one!

Neil said...

Just think, you get to learn the lesson while still dealing with the issue and facing the people. He doesn't get you through it and then say, "This is what I was trying to teach you!" No, He walks us through it saying all along the way, "So, this is what I want you to do, and how I want you to say it, and you may not say anything, I'll speak for you!" What is tough is that sometimes when the Lord speaks for us, the people He speaks to don't tell us what He said! Good Post!

Deborha's Palm Tree said...

Pastor! Hemmorhoids! Really? Diarrhea hmmm? Well, we are talking job security for this writer! However, I just want to say that I have enjoyed your series. It's interesting how God will begin to teach us something and while He is doing it we have to 'walk it out' in front of everyone like Neil said. "working out our Salvation with fear and trembling"? I am in that place now with an 'issue' ... getting ready to do a women's conference...having to walk some things out...sometimes it isn't easy...but, the Michigan preacher is right..IT WILL BE WORTH IT! Thanx for being 'real' Pastor.

Sean McKee said...

You need to find a new topic or people are going to start praying for you to have Hemmorhoids and Diarrhea!

This is starting to hit home!

Great post Darrell!

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

So which "enemy" list should I start praying through?

The "long" list, or the "longer" list?


me said...


I'm not too clear on God, whoever's God that is, but I have always thought that the message of forgiveness was the most admirable part of Christianity.

It's such a terrbily hard thing to do... but it's about us, not them, isn't it? It's about freeing ourselves, and about love.

We don't talk enough about the importance of love - romantic love yes perhaps, but I mean that bigger love that encompasses everything - people, places, the world.

M.L. King's struggle was all about this - that love does not make you weak, it makes you strong, and it makes other people strong. And that love is not a finite thing - the more of it you give, the more there is to go around.

Anyway, thats enough random musings for today :)