“We should pray for him,” my wife said, innocently enough but with the words pushed deep into my soul, and reframed my thinking about the issue at hand.
We’re buying a new house at the moment, and it hasn’t quite been going as smoothly as the last time we did that.
Sadly, the couple we are buying from is in the middle of what seems to be a pretty nasty break-up. No break-up is nice, but it seems that we’re dealing with one party who wants to sell and move on with life, and another who is not.
Consequently, he’s been sluggish in signing documents, and now it seems will effectively have to be evicted for us to complete our pre-settlement inspection of the property. The downside for him is that the sale will go ahead, potentially by a court order.
At some level I understand where he’s at. He doesn’t want to sell the home, and at some level probably doesn’t want to let go of the relationship and move on. Any break-up is tough, and I actually feel sorry for the guy.
But the sale agreement is now signed, and it will happen by hook, or by crook. That makes me a little annoyed that the guy won’t just step aside and let things happen in an orderly manner.
At some level, that makes him my enemy. Not that I have a lot of enmity towards him, but I do want him to bend to my will.
And so while discussing it on our way to brunch the other day that my wife made that statement.
Of course, she was doing what we, as Christians should do. But at the same time, it felt so jarring to my train of thought.
In his famous chat on the hill, Jesus put it pretty plainly:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-45, NIV)
It’s a couple of verses that I must have read a thousand times, but it almost seemed like it was too idealistic. It doesn’t work like that in the real world. And, could I really, in good faith, pray for someone who is against me? And who is my enemy?
I think that’s why my wife’s words really struck home. Here was a situation where I could actually do what Jesus said. And notice the sting in the tail: “…that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
That makes it pretty important.
So I have been praying for this bloke, and I have found that it has been changing my thinking about the issues. Yes, we still want the purchase to go ahead, but we are trusting that God has that sorted out.
In the meantime, to the guy who is making things difficult, I pray that you would find peace, joy and love from the God who loves you so much. I hope that you have some good support around you at this time, because it is tough. And I pray that you will come out through the experience in a better place.