My mother-in-law is such a hard person to love. Her personality is like sandpaper and she will undoubtedly rub you the wrong way no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, whether you like country or rock n roll, whether you are gluten-friendly or gluten-free. Because she is so abrasive, I find it hard to share my life with her, and praying for her is even harder.
I will be real with you… I think praying for her is such a burden because I don’t think she deserves salvation. Without realizing it, I made myself her judge, kept a record of her wrongs, and deemed her too far gone. She’s hurt, offended and abused the person I love most in this world, so love and eternal life should be withheld from her. Those are the raw, sinful thoughts of my flesh.
In preparing for the By Name Initiative, the Holy Spirit began to expose these very wrong feelings I harbored toward my mother-in-law. He has gently reminded me that my righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) before Him and that there is One Great Judge and it is not me. Who am I to deem anyone worthy and fit for salvation? Christ is the only One who led a blameless life and the only One who has the power to save. I did nothing to deserve or earn salvation.
My prayer is two-fold. First, I pray that the Holy Spirit would extend salvation to my mother-in-law, opening her eyes to her need for a Savior and changing the affections of heart. Second, I pray that the Lord would make my heart tender toward her and that I would be filled with compassion and kindness toward her.
You may not have a mother-in-law, but I bet you have someone in your life that is not easy to love. I encourage you to set aside your affinity, or the lack thereof, and pray for the salvation of the uneasy to love, remembering that you, too, were once unlovely and unworthy. But that Christ, while we were yet sinners, died for us (Romans 5:8). Call out by name the uneasy to love before the throne of God. Pray for their salvation. Pray that your own heart would reflect the loving kindness of the only One who saves.