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Cure for Resentment
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Recently, I heard someone say that the cure for resentment is to pray two weeks for the person for whom you're holding the resentment. Having some “issues” along those lines at the time, I made special note of those words of wisdom.

What is it in those words that can bring a cure for resentment? Is there something extraordinary about two weeks? Is it simply that making an effort to pray for someone with whom we're struggling softens our hearts toward them?

Actually, I think the key that makes this wisdom true is the word for. Praying for, not about.

What's the difference? Quite a bit, really. Praying about prayers are the kind that go something like this: "Lord, please make this person leave me alone. Do something about her mean attitude. After all, Lord, if she weren't so awful, I wouldn't have to hate her." In other words, praying about someone is really all about me and my own suffering.

Praying "for" not about

In contrast, praying for other people calls upon God's power to change the person for his/her own good, and to bring healing in whatever may be lacking which has caused the negative actions. It can never be the wrong thing to pray for our enemies, no matter what they've done to us. The Bible says, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). It's not easy, but it sure does put the smack-down on resentment.

Praying for the good of our enemies provides a two-fold miracle. First, it dilutes the development of bitterness in our own hearts, no matter how innocent we are and no matter how guilty the other person is. Second, it opens the opportunity for God to actually change that person rather than just to protect us from him. It also gives us an opportunity to share in the intercession that Jesus performs for us. We may offend God, but Jesus continues to pray for us and for the healing of our faults.

When you think about it, isn't praying for our enemies really the best answer for everyone? By doing this, we go beyond asking for a bandaid for external actions and allow our enemies (and ourselves) to be transformed from the inside out.

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By Gwen Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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