In her book With My Whole Heart, Karen Mains tells of a discipline she has that reminds her to maintain a kind spirit. It involves a phrase she derived from an old prayer: "Christ betwixt thee and me." She writes, "I breathe the words 'Christ betwixt thee and me' when I grow impatient with the phone caller who is talking too long, with the difficult personality who is taxing my resources, with the cranky child...I breathe the prayer, then see the form of Christ between me and the one to whom I am speaking."
She asks herself, "How would He respond to this one? What words would He choose? How would He touch? What kind of concern would He show?" Then she does whatever is closest to what she thinks Christ would do.
Prayer is a powerful tool to use when we find we're unable to respond with kindness in our own strength. We pray, "Dear Lord, what are You thinking about this one?" and often find we suddenly possess a fresh love and understanding that enables us to deal kindly with a troublesome situation.
We once knew a man who had been wronged by someone. During this time he hurt deeply, but the Lord impressed him to pray for the man who had wronged him. He was to pray that he would be effective in his ministry. Miraculously, his bitterness against that man dissolved.
Being willing to pray for the ones who hurt him was Job's deliverance. God told Job to pray for those three miserable comforters. "After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before" (Job 42:10).
Thank You, Jesus, for providing grace to love even those whose actions I don't understand.
"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?" (Matthew 5:44-46).