But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
(Luke 6:35-36)

Every evening I opened the cabinet and took down a bottle of red wine. The sound the cork made as it escaped the bottle was music to my hears. It heralded the soon-to-be numbness I craved. For a few hours, I could escape myself. I could forget about the people I felt had wronged me. I didn’t have to think about the hate in my heart. When I stopped drinking and got sober, I had to learn how to face my feelings. I had to learn how to let go of all the vitriol that was poisoning me. But how?

Of course I needed to forgive those who had harmed me. (Matthew 6:14-15) But forgiving wasn’t enough. I still felt rather hollow and sharp inside. I asked God to help me with this, and His answer was short and simple. “Pray for them.” (Matthew 5:44) And so it began, daily prayers for everyone who had hurt me, or taken something from me. It wasn’t an easy practice in the beginning. I felt like a fraud; my words didn’t really match up with my feelings. However, over time, the prayers worked on my heart. I began to be genuinely concerned with the people I was praying for. Love slowly seeped into my heart, filling it up with God’s magic. I can not take credit for my change in heart; not one little bit. It was God working in me, that removed the hate and fear and replaced it with love. I know God can do the same for you.

I no longer have feelings that make me want to drink. In fact, I feel just the opposite. The sweetness and goodness in my life makes me want to stay as fully conscious and sober as possible. I don’t want to miss a thing in my life. How sad it would be to numb away these fine feelings!

F.R.O.G. Practice: Pray for those who have hurt you. Pray for them as you would pray for your child, or your parents. Pray for their safety, their health, their happiness. Pray that they know the love of God and His great abundant gifts. Lift your enemies up to God. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.