Those of you close to me know that my husband & I have bought his late parents’ home from his two sisters. Our situation has been challenging & rather different though in many ways from a typical home purchase. For one thing, I haven’t spoken to them since 2002, & haven’t broken that even during this process.
They haven’t been good to my husband during this process, & it’s made me so angry, I realized I went from feeling nothing for them to hating them
As a Christian, this isn’t somewhere I wanted to be but I wasn’t sure how not to feel that way. I asked God to help me not hate them a couple of times, but mostly just tried not to think about it. Anything that is ignored doesn’t just disappear, so I have no idea why I thought that was smart.
While I was ignoring this hate in my heart, I had a dream one night. In it, the only part I could remember was seeing a large flock of white doves. I looked up the symbolism. One possible meaning of doves in a dream is that you need to release any hatred you feel. So much for ignoring it!
I got serious about asking God to help me get rid of this hate. Matthew 5:44 came to mind. In the Amplified translation, it says, “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” This really isn’t my favorite Scripture, to be honest. It might be my least favorite in fact. Even so, that doesn’t mean it can be ignored. I started praying for them. Not just as my in-laws or my husband’s sisters. By name. I forced myself to think of each one of them specifically as I prayed for them. Somehow it felt like the right thing to do & I am so glad I did it!
The first two or three times I did this, it was hard. I wasn’t sincere. I was only praying for them because I knew that is what God wanted me to do. Then little by little, the hatred started to disappear. It didn’t just vanish all at once. It took lots of praying for them, & with each prayer, a bit of hate would disappear.
Once I’d decided to pray for them, I noticed that often, I’d think of them out of the blue, & get really angry. Rather than sit with that anger, I’d pray for them. Even if it was just a simple prayer, asking God to turn their hearts to Him or to bless them, I’d still pray it. And you know something? The more I did that, the less the anger reared its ugly head.
I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I’m not saying that all is forgiven & forgotten, we’re going to be best friends now. I am still angry about the terrible behavior they have exhibited towards my husband. That is reasonable, I believe, because we should always be angry about someone we love being mistreated, but especially when the abusive person shows no signs of remorse. I also will continue not to have a relationship with them for the rest of our lives.
Praying for them took me to a much more reasonable & even Godly place. God doesn’t want His children hating others, but He does want us hating what is evil, according to Romans 12:9. Abusing someone without remorse or changing behavior is evil, so there is nothing wrong with hating such things. There is also nothing bad with having healthy boundaries in place. Examples of setting healthy boundaries are sprinkled all throughout the Bible.
If you have gotten to a place that I was where you hate someone, then please consider praying for that person as I did. It really is worth the effort. It truly helps! It’ll help the person you’re praying for & it’ll help you by allowing you to release that hatred in your heart.