Read: Jeremiah 18:1-23
So let their children starve! Let them die by the sword! Let their wives become childless widows. Let their old men die in a plague, and let their men be killed in battle! Jeremiah 18:21
Jeremiah’s career as a prophet is characterized by a message to the people of Judah to repent and turn to God. He is ignored and even plotted against by the leaders of the country for they would rather stick to their evil practices. In the end they discredit Jeremiah through lies and slander and wound him deeply. His reply is utterly human and honest (see vs. 21).
When people hurt us, it is natural to want to call down fire from heaven upon them or take vengeance into our own hands. Ultimately, this simply feeds the woundedness in our hearts and continues to hurt us over and over again. I think Jesus would say to Jeremiah what He said to His disciples and what He says to us… “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
Ultimately, the people of Judah reaped what they sewed, and destruction did come their way, but Jeremiah’s request for retribution did not help him or hurt them. God will exact justice, He doesn’t need our help. In fact, keeping our hearts clear from resentment and letting things go breaks the power of the offense over us and lets our hearts be free.
This isn’t easy or automatic. It requires a conscious decision and effort. A great strategy to truly be able to forgive someone is to pray for them. Pray for them every day, and over time you will find your attitude toward them changing from the inside out.
Father – I choose to trust you for making right what has been wronged. Help me today to extend forgiveness, to let go of offense, and to find freedom from the hurt of things said or done against me. Heal those places in my heart and breathe in me new life. I pray for the people who have hurt me. Bless them, open their eyes to see you, and capture them with your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.