Thursday, July 7, 2016
A Word Seldom Prayed
The first time I was in a fight was in grammar school. It was on the playground at recess. Back then fights at school were viewed and handled differently than today. As I remember that playground brawl, it started with words being hurled in the air. Tempers flared and two boys who had been playing together faced off. We moved in a circle until one of us lunged at the other and then wrapped around each other, we wrestled to the ground rolling over and over until the clean clothes of the morning were black with playground dirt. And, then, it was over. A few more threatening words were thrown and two boys went back to the rest of recess.
Now, I have never had a physical altercation as an adult. But, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I must confess to participating in more than just a few verbal ones. They were ugly moments of saying things that sought to hurt another and give me the upper hand. Some of them even happened at church meetings when I began to think of someone as an adversary rather than a brother or sister. While I make no attempt to justify the battles, I do know that most of the time fighting is our first response to the presence of one perceived as an adversary or antagonist.
The Psalmist David presents us with a different alternative in the 7th Psalm. Not only does he acknowledge that his own actions may be the reason for being attacked (Ps. 7:3-5), but he also asks for the Lord to intervene and sort things out either by rising against his enemies or trampling him into the ground if he is wrong. In the midst of our own conflicts with others, who among is ready to pray, "... judge me, O Lord, according to my righteous and according to the integrity that is in me." (Ps. 7:8) Such a prayer would certainly take us to a different place than trying to sic God on those who oppose us.