Mean People Part III

David makes a very specific request to God.

Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make straight your way before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Psalm 5: 8 – 12

David essentially asks God, “Lord give me wisdom in dealing with these people, and God please GET THEM! Let my enemy have it!” You may read David’s prayer and think, “I didn’t think people who follow Jesus (you know the guy who said to turn the other cheek) could or even should pray in this way. Isn’t a ‘God let them have it’ prayer contradictory to Christ’s teaching?” Actually imprecatory prayers like Psalm 5 are very appropriate. Why? Imprecatory prayer is  all about talking out our desire for justice to a just God, rather than delivering our version of justice on our own accord. Not only can we pray for justice, but we should because when we talk out our bitterness before God we get anger out of our system in a healthy way, and we get to the place where we can step aside and let God handle the justice.

It’s more than okay to leave justice in God’s hands through prayer rather than taking justice into my own hands through my own action. It is much better to talk vindictive vengeance out of my system with God than pursue vengeance on my own. It is also absolutely appropriate to ask God to do what is just on my behalf and fight for me against very mean people.

About Andy Lewis

Andy is an author, pastor, and musician who lives in Santa Cruz California. Currently he serves as lead pastor at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz
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