REDISCOVERING THE ANCIENT PATH THROUGH ADVENT—Week of December 12, 2021
Pray for Others, Especially Those Who Mistreat You: Luke 6:27-28; Rom. 5:6-11
As we continue examining Benedict’s rules for Christian formation through the lens of Advent, this week we’ll look at Rule 4.72: Pray for Others, Especially Those Who Mistreat You. In Advent we remember that praying for others, especially those who mistreat us, is not just something Jesus talked about; it is the very essence of how he lived his life. From his birth until his death, Christ demonstrated this kind of love for others.
No one in human history has been more mistreated than Jesus. At his birth, there was no room for him in the inn. Herod tried to kill him and forced his family to flee to Egypt. When he announced his mission in his hometown of Nazareth, they tried to throw him off a cliff. They tried to stone him, trick him, falsely accuse him, and blaspheme his name. One of his closest companions betrayed him. Another denied he even knew him. The crowd chose to live with a murderer rather than live with Jesus. Yet, even as he died, he prayed, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
Jesus stepped out of glory and into the mess we’d made to redeem us and reconcile us to God. Though we mistreated him, he willingly endured it all so that we could be restored. But Jesus’ ministry of praying for us didn’t end with his death, burial, and resurrection. In 1 John 2:1 we find that Jesus is still praying and advocating for us before the Father. Though we mistreat him with our thoughts, our words, and our actions, Jesus continues his ministry of reconciliation. And in Advent we remember that Jesus will continue to advocate on our behalf until that day when he comes again to complete the mission he began on that Christmas day 2,000 years ago.
Let’s determine that we will make this Advent season a time of reconciliation and peace by praying for others, especially those who mistreat us.
- Is there anyone you struggle to pray for? Why?
- Who are some people who have mistreated you? What do you think about them? How might you be able to pray for them?
- Consider all that Jesus endured to rescue you. How does that make you feel about him? How might you show that same sort of kindness to others?
- Even though our sin hurts his heart, Jesus continues to pray for us when we sin (1 John 2:1). Does that change your view on your sin? How does it make you feel to know Jesus is praying for you?
- How might you bring peace and restoration this Advent season? Is there a family member or friend that you need to forgive or extend kindness to this year?