Written and Recited by Holly C. O’Brien
One afternoon at work, I had a colleague stop by my classroom to visit me for the first time. I would see her at lunch as we ate with each other and other colleagues at times. I thought it was a nice surprise. I didn’t normally have visitors.
However, the reason for her visit was not a social call, it was a mission to collect gossip – and it was gossip on me. She was a forthright Russian woman who came fearlessly down to collect what she could. Bold. She came to confront me about what was being told about me.
She was there to find out if the rumors of me ratting out another colleague to administration for her smoking during her lunch break were true. I was disgusted and pissed-off at her coming to me with this. It was not true at all. I was bothered and disappointed about the whole thing, and I let her know it. I thought I was going to have a nice visitor, and I’m being ridiculed by people for something that never occurred. I expressed my disgust to her while also hoping to find out why I was being targeted, how did they pin me as the “rat-er” in this error of accusation?
I was piecing it all together in my mind as she spoke. I was also thinking of how I saw “the ratted-out” with these other woman with whom I used to have lunch when I was in a different area who I found were all of the sudden treating me poorly when I’d see them in the halls, for no apparent reason. These women were being mean to me with their looks and snippy remarks, and behaviors. I didn’t understand it, until this. I surmised that is why I was being treated rudely by them – these women had chosen to erroneously believe in what I’d done, and they were standing with their friend in solidarity against me. Oh well.
I never told that colleague out-rightly that I was innocent of what I was being accused. Perhaps I should have righted her, but I didn’t. All that I could think of was how ridiculous this whole thing was – it was all so high school. Pun intended. I was surprised that it was all going on.
I would let them keep their beliefs, at least for a while. If the woman wanted to know the truth, she could come to me herself. I let that go.
My colleague left with little more certainty than she had come with. I deliberately left her confused almost making it seem like I had done it because I refused to admit anything either way. I may have done the wrong thing there. Either way, they would likely have thought what they wanted to despite me telling them the truth.
I thought about the situation after she left. I was mad that I was being targeted unfairly, and being marked by their meanness, really. It was stupid, really, too. I don’t like injustices, either.
I then thought, too, about another injustice that was occurring simultaneously, again, toward me, in part. One of the women in the mix who’d been rude to me, was, separately, unfairly making these “rulings” about a going-away party she was hosting for another colleague. She was ostracizing from the party everyone who did not contribute to it financially. I didn’t even see the original email. She dis-invited all who did not contribute. I went to explain the situation to her in person. She ignored me. She was, at one time, so kind and respectful to me. I was figuring it was all a result of this rumor-mill, and was bothered by it.
I thought about it more after the colleague left. I was pissed about it. I did not like the unfair treatment I was getting, nor that colleague coming to my classroom like that bringing all that garbage. I was hurt and bothered. This was right on top of the emails from this rude colleague which compounded my “righteous anger.” I was feeling accursed by the damning.
As I thought about all that had happened, I was reeling. I was then reminded, quickly, of the duty of Christian’s to pray for their enemies. That was the thought that came to my mind. Pray for your enemies. I didn’t resist too much at all because that’s what we’re to do. There’s got to be some logic to it if we’re told to do it, right? So I, began to pray. That is the only reason I did it.
Jesus instructs Christians in Matthew 5:43 – 44: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.
The main thing that I remembered from that prayer was the emotional aspect of it. I recall that as I was praying, the only woman I prayed for was the one who’d sent me the emails who I felt really hurt by; the whole situation itself other than that seemed to fall by the wayside because it was all so trivial, despite it pissing me off.
All of the sudden, I began weeping for the woman as I prayed. I felt so much compassion for her. I felt sad for her, by the fact of what must she feel like on the inside to be so mean, and so rude and hateful to be that way toward me, and at such an older age, too. It was sad really. I felt sorry for her. After I prayed, I just let it all go. It was like it was released and flooded out by the compassion.
While I prayed, God handled it. I did my part, and actually got peace from it. I got some perspective, too. It was healing, my prayer, and all was well from then.
1 Peter 3:9 in another instruction by Jesus tells us: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
I got a blessing with my prayer for that woman that afternoon. I got compassion for her. I got free of the whole worry and “wrongs that were being done to me.” I was no longer angry or bothered, at all.
I eventually came clean sometime over that year to the woman who thought I ratted her out. I told her I never did it, and she accepted it. I just wanted her to know the truth.
I learned that my obedience to the instruction of praying for my enemies freed me up, and I also trust that it helped that woman, too. That’s how it works.
I believe we are to pray for others because their hearts aren’t right with God, and we can help them by praying that God change them to be more pleasing to Him, too. It’s important to remember too, that, according to Ephesians 6:12, ”We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
They clearly need help. That’s why they are acting that way. They are love-less in some area, right? According to scripture, however, it’s a spiritual issue. People who are hurting, hurt people. So, we can pray for them for Jesus to help them – to free them up from their loveless state – whatever it may be. They are not right and need help. We do too. If we take on that bitterness that ensues from wrongs committed because we do not understand, we may be subject to perpetuating and perhaps worsening the situation. We are to pray for our enemies, simply. We are also going to get a blessing by doing it because we become freed in it. At least that is my experience. We are free from our accusation and self-righteous judgement, maybe also resentment and hurt, as well.
I found a blessing in the prayer offering. I received compassion, replacing my indignation, and it freed me. I clearly needed a miracle too. A treasure of obedience is clearly a blessing, always. Thank you, Lord.
Thank you for helping me and this woman. Thank you, also, for letting me get a blessing for the obedience to your word. I got to experience the “why,” at least in part, of why we are to pray for our enemies. I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit for this experience for I believe He brought to my attention the thought to “Pray for my enemies.” I am grateful to Christ for helping me see His instruction in practice and the blessing that flowed from that. The bible says that grace and truth are from Jesus Christ. I believe by reverencing Him by praying the word, as He commanded, that He bestowed his grace upon me that day for, my colleague, in the form of compassion for her and the grace to let go of the hurt I felt from her and for giving me peace.
I am grateful to God for giving us Jesus, my brother, to have Him give us the words of life that lead us to walk in paths of righteousness. Thank you for showing me the blessing of praying for our enemies – a double win – and for always leading me in your ways. Thank you for helping me, and for helping my colleague.