The trial of a serial killer has captured the attention of most of the people in my little town. Finding an impartial jury has not been easy. Opinions are expressed in the morning coffee gatherings, in the papers, and on the regional news.
I met recently with a group who were close to one of the victims. Very early into our meetng, one of people spoke up: “I have a question. Do I have to pray for that guy?”
Easy answer: no.
But I’m not into easy answers.
I helped my questioning friend to tease out what she was really wanting to ask. She was somewhat resistant—seeking to hide the truth she was trying to avoid. But we finally got there. “Do I have to forgive him?”
What followed was an honest discussion about forgiveness. No one was comfortable…needing to forgive can do that.
As we were wrapping up our meeting, a new question surfaced: Do I have to like him?
Even easier answer: no!
Scripture says nothing about liking someone. I don’t think we’re wired to like everyone.
But we have to care about them. We have to love them.
Loving someone…caring for them…praying for them doesn’t mean we have to like them—and we certainly don’t have to like or condone what they did.
Perhaps the only thing we can pray for them is that they will find the strength to face the consequences of their actions.
If I did something horribly wrong I would hope someone prayed that much for me.
2 thoughts on “Hopefully Devoted: How much love?”
Great topic! I think it’s a hard one because extending love (via forgiveness or prayer on their behalf or whatever) somehow seems to minimize the damage done or be disloyal to the victim. The flip side though, perhaps, is joining with God to deepen his presence in the world. Thanks for the reminder of the challenge to “Love your neighbor” – no matter who they are.
Always good to remember both sides of the coin. Thanks!