Last Sunday I preached at St John’s Ashfield on what it means for us to trust in and follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
One of the things I mentioned but that only really came into focus for me as I continued to reflect on it during the day (between the 10am and 6pm services), concerned what we could learn from the Psalms about pursuing peace.
What I had in mind, was what the so-called ‘imprecatory Psalms’ can teach us — those Psalms in which the poets cry out to God against their enemies, typically in ferocious and downright atavistic language.
In laying bear the raw and unprocessed feelings on their hearts, the Psalmists display anything but a neatly ordered Ikea Catalogue prayer life.
But I’m increasingly convinced that the way the poets’ put into words the very real hurts they’re experiencing — and lay them before God — is actually a tremendously effective strategy for renouncing revenge and pursuing peace.
Think of the Lord Jesus who renounced retaliation and committed himself to him who judges justly.
Honestly committing one’s cause to the just judge goes hand-in-hand with refusing to be drawn into the violent cycle of tit-for-tat. And provides the paradigm for peaceable Christian living (see Romans 12.14-21).
So if your prayer life resembles a page out of an Ikea Catalogue rather than one of these imprecatory Psalms, perhaps you need to repent and start getting real with God!