A strong voice has been speaking to me today, and my nature wants to ignore it, even for a little while. But I know better than to do that, so I’ve been sitting here for almost an hour, trying to put into words all that my heart is trying to absorb. It’s pouring rain outside, washing away the grunge of this past season, bringing moisture into dry places so they can flourish and grow. I am looking forward to the hope of Spring; I know it is coming, even though it is still dark and grim outside.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened in Boston and Newtown…asking questions and feeling sorrow, fear, confusion, and anger alongside so many others this morning. All normal feelings, all justified thoughts. But I keep hearing another voice, and not surprisingly, I’m almost fearful to share it, lest I be criticized, ostracized, and/or viewed as a traitor for even considering sparing a moment to voice it, let alone carry it through. Four words: pray for your enemies. Don’t misunderstand me. In no way do I release those responsible, nor would I ever downplay the horror for all who were involved. I have prayed over this event and these individuals multiple times. The majority of people would lynch whoever was responsible without a second thought, and I could easily join that crowd. But Pray for your Enemies… I don’t even know who is responsible, how can I pray for someone who obviously makes choices that I cannot begin to comprehend? Pray for your Enemies…
So this morning, I have prayed for the enemy, not just that they might be found and justice be conferred in the wake of these events. I have also prayed for them – for what has broken them and led them to make these decisions, for a consciousness of what they have done so that they may seek restitution, and for their souls…because I believe in the hope of God’s redemptive power in my life, and I know that my life has as great a need to be redeemed, as theirs.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
– John Newton, 1779
“Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the world. We sing it on Sunday mornings; we sing it at funerals. Sometimes it is sung with deep meaning and wounded hearts, while other times it is sung with syrupy sentimentality, and we miss the message. Grace. Mercy. I need it. My enemy needs it too.
The rain has slowed, and the birds are starting to sing, and I feel like singing too-
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see…