When a certain person or situation comes to mind, does it stir up intense emotions?
Thinking about our loved ones may evoke strong feelings of love, loyalty, and protection.
However, when it comes to someone we perceive has wronged us, it may produce feelings of anxiety, aggression, or even hate.
"But to who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those that curse you. Pray for those who have hurt you." - Luke 6:27-28
As Christians, we are instructed to even pray for our enemies. But as soon as we begin to pray, we can quickly feel bombarded by our negative emotions. Sometimes our prayers and thanksgiving to the Lord turns into a tirade about how the person has wronged us.
Why do we feel so strongly? Perhaps the Lord is trying to reveal the root causes of those feelings so they can be dealt with.
After infidelity within my own marriage, it was incredibly difficult to pray for my husband and the women he'd committed adultery with. It felt impossible to pray for these women who had taken so much from me. I hated them. But why did I hate them? I actually didn't know any of them personally. Those intense feelings of disgust, hate, and loathing I had towards them were just symptoms of what the Father was trying to show me about my own heart.
I was jealous of the time, energy, emotional and physical intimacy that my husband had shared with them and not with me. I was envious of the way they'd captured his attention and his lust.
It wasn't them that I hated. It was much easier to hate them than to deal with my feelings of jealousy, envy, injustice, betrayal, and pain.
I needed to deal with my unresolved feelings. God could never begin the healing process within my own heart until I stopped spending all my time villainizing these random women.
With help from the Holy Spirit, I began to look past the hate and find the emotions that triggered my contempt. I asked God to help cleanse me of the jealousy and betrayal, so I could find peace again.
It didn't happen overnight, but peace and joy did return to my spirit. Daily prayer, going to Church, time spent in God's Word, and reading inspiring books by reputable Christian authors were very helpful for me!
For my husband, he's an adopted child that never knew his biological father. He's acknowledged that for many years of his life, that haunted him greatly. His biological mother always beat around the bush and would never give him answers on the true identity of who his father was. We'd heard from other family members that his biological father had previously tried to make contact with my husband. However, his biological mother stopped any contact from taking place. It was like she had the golden key to my husband's sense of identity and refused to relinquish it. You can only imagine the hurt and resentment that caused my husband. I don't think many people would've blamed him for being angry at her for withholding such powerful information.
However, his prayers turned from bitterness into humbleness towards God, asking for the hurt within his heart to be revealed.
The sting of not knowing his biological father resurfaces every now and again, but it's no longer crippling to him on a daily basis, year after year.
God desires to heal you of those burdens you carry - the weight of powerful negative emotions that keep us from fully knowing God's joy and peace. There may be burdens you've been carrying for so long, you forgot they existed. Spend time listening to the Lord and ask Him to reveal what true emotions hide behind the resentment or hate you've been feeling. Don't become overwhelmed by what He reveals, you're just getting one step closer to knowing His perfect peace!