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Stuck in Prison
Posted on Jul. 22, 2012 3 Comments
Hatred imprisons us, no doubt about it. So, what do we do with it? Pretend it’s not there? Embrace it and use it to fuel our destruction of others? Those praying the Psalms learn how to put words to their hate in the form of prayer. Only by owning our hatred can we move toward forgiveness.
After I had written this sermon (but before I preached it) I heard of the unspeakable horror that occurred in a movie theater in Colorado. Lives senselessly snuffed out by a deranged mad man. Those were survived were terrorized and/or physically injured. Surely no one in that movie house will ever be the same again. Will the survivors ever be able to enjoy a movie? Or will they always be fearful and anxious? We don’t choose the emotions of fear, anger, and hatred. They erupt without internal provocation. And once they rise within us, what are we to do?
Pray, of course. But what does one full of ugly emotion pray? Pray honest prayers that express the pain, injustice, and anger. Psalm 137 is no where near Psalm 23 in popularity, but it has it’s place in the inspired book of prayers. Without it (and the other imprecatory Psalms) how would we know what to do with our rage? Trust God enough to express your ugliest, most disgusting thoughts and feelings. He will see that justice is done. And, unlike humans, he will know exactly who needs justice and who needs mercy. Trust him, there is no reason for hatred to keep you prison forever. He will teach you how to forgive so that you can be set free from the prison of hate.