As the morning bleeds into Monday, August 20, I realize that I've failed to keep up with the goal that I had to write every day while working my way through Tony Dungy's "Uncommon Life: Daily Challenge".
The title of the devotional is "Prayer Warriors". I know a few of these people. It is something that I admit that I am not. If I can stay focused and pray for more than five minutes, that is a huge accomplishment for me.
Recently, I think I mentioned that I needed prayer and I reached out to a fellow athlete to help me deal with some anger that I harbored.
The verse at the top of the devotional for today is this: "You have been deceived by your own pride. . . . You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble." ~ Obdiah 1:3, 12.
Dungy wrote, "It's easy to rejoice in the misfortune of someone who has wronged us. Praying for and blessing those who persecute us, as we're called to do in Matthew 5:44 and Romans 12:14, certainly aren't the natural responses."
Indeed, they're not.
And I did not rejoice in another's misfortune. In fact, I was asked to help. I responded and was very honored to do so, and still to this day am (and hopefully always will be).
There was separate hurt that another, though, opened the door to that troubled me. It caused me to feel taken for granted and taken advantage of.
Dungy also added, "But we've got to work hard to see that the people we disagree with have the same good qualities we do."
Actually, that is something that I've never doubted. Problem is that I was never allowed to learn what those really were or are. I wanted to. I politely waited my time in trying to find out for myself, but I never experienced them.
He also stated that "In his twenty-one-verse book in the middle of the Bible, the prophet Obadiah clearly proclaims that even if we feel the situation warrants it, God does not want us to relish the misfortune of others."
And again, I didn't. I prayed to God and asked for him to bless that individual in the decisions that they needed to make in their life.
And since a situation caused for me to lose my ability to witness to them, I also prayed for somebody else, who lived their faith consistently and in action for that person to see, to be made available to be a witness of God's love to them.
Even I never understood why I seemed to be the one that the person called out to or upon.
Dungy's "Uncommon Key" states this: "Are there people you aren't getting along with today? Is there something specific you can do to soften your heart toward them and then pray -- meaningfully -- for them?"
The obivous answer to both questions, for most everybody, is "Yes".