When criminals stole the air conditioner from my pottery shop window, I received an opportunity to act like Jesus, and, I'm sorry to say, I wasn't too happy to about it. It takes a lot of bold to pull up to a street on a busy highway and steal the air conditioner out of the front window.
My first response was not prayer.
I'm sorry to say that, but it's the truth. My first response was shock, and hurt, and anger.
I considered doing a stake out in the dark to try to catch them if they came back. One of my close friends offered to help me. "We could take them," she assured me. I had a fleeting vision of throwing a pottery vase at a criminal. That scenario was not likely to end well.
Fortunately, good sense prevailed.
At first, I didn't really care about the reason for the crime, but I eventually came to "why". Why would they steal the air conditioner? It's certainly not hot enough to need an air conditioner, but, of course, it wasn't need that drove them.
If they'd needed food, they could have come to me and I'd have fed them. This crime wasn't about food for the hungry, either.
Most likely they wanted money. Probably for drugs.
An investigation is underway. I hope the detective catches them. Somewhere between shock and anger, I came to the thought that jail would be a good thing for these criminals. Not that jail would bring justice, but because jail would bring an opportunity for someone to share Christ with them. Jail would offer a defining moment for my criminals to accept Jesus.
It took me a few hours to move past hurt, anger, and fear to praying for these criminals, but I'm on it now. It's a kind of divine retribution, and I'm praying big.
I'm praying they get caught, go to jail, and hear the good news of Jesus.
I'm praying they accept Him and are so transformed that they turn from their wicked ways and become true disciples. Maybe a pastor or a missionary.
I'm praying the evil one's hold on their lives is broken, and they are set free by the Blood of the Lamb.
I'm praying this is the last time they ever steal anything.
If I can think of anything bigger than serving Christ with a whole heart, I'll pray that, too.
Praying for our enemies is not just a suggestion. It's a command, and it benefits us more than it does our enemy. Those prayers changed fear and anger into peace. They stopped hate right in its tracks. They allowed me to sleep, undisturbed, even after a very disturbing violation.
Believe it or not, those prayers have given me a sense of anticipation. I can't wait to see how God works this out.
Last night, I wanted to have a few words with my criminals. This morning, I still want a word, but the words I want to share are a little different.
"Welcome to my world, criminals. You won't escape unscathed. I've turned you over to my Father. He'll deal with you now."
That may not sound like much, but its the best (and probably scariest) news a criminal could ever hear.
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you..." Matthew 5:44 KJV
The photo above is not my pottery shop window. It's courtesy of freeimages.com and is a view of Paris.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Being a Human Road Sign
Update on Sam's Kids Boot Project: $4425 raised so far. That's 368 pairs of boots! Still a long way to go, but we've made an excellent start. In case you still want to donate, here's the link: www.globaloutreach.org/sams-kids
You can also mail a check or money order to: (Be sure to put Acct # 4852 in the subject line)
c/o Global Outreach
PO Box 1
Tupelo MS 38802
Thanks for your help!#prayforyour enemy #Jesus