For the slaughter and violence done to your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. On the day that you stood aside, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you too were like one of them. But you should not have gloated over your brother on the day of his misfortune; over the people of Judah on the day of their ruin; you should not have boasted on the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of my people on the day of their calamity; you should not have joined in the gloating over Judah's disaster on the day of his calamity; you should not have looted his goods on the day of his calamity. You should not have stood at the crossings to cut off his fugitives; you should not have handed over his survivors on the day of distress.
For the day of the Lord is near against all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. Obadiah 10-15 (NRSV)
Have you ever disliked someone so much that you delighted in their troubles? Well, Andrew Michael Ardoin, from Louisiana, has. He is ashamed to admit that his "enemy" and himself are both missionaries. She runs a school through which Andrew had hoped to obtain a visa. Her school hired him, but she and Andrew did not get along; she fired him after six weeks. His hopes for a visa were dashed. His disappointment led to anger. Others tried to console him, but Andrew wanted vindication, not peace.
Later, Andrew heard that her school was having difficulties. And while he found satisfaction in her struggles, he had no peace.
Finally Andrew remembered Obadiah's message, and he knew he needed to change, He began praying for her and her school. Slowly, as he prayed, his anger turned to mercy, and his disappointment turned to peace. As he prayed for God to bless her, God changed Andrew so that he could genuinely rejoice in her success when her school began to prosper.
We experience God's love most fully when we pray for others to be blessed. True joy is found in God's mercy.
Prayer: Dear God, enable us by your love to bless those who have disappointed us and to pray sincerely for our enemies, in Jesus' name, amen.