It’s so hard not to harbor bitterness. It’s so hard not to hang on to unforgiveness.  It’s so hard to offer the same kind of grace that we’ve received from God.  But it is the only cure, the cure all.  How do you let go and let God?

I think the key is found in Job 42:10: “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his three friends.”

Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for Job to forgive his friends.  They added injury to insult as Job suffered tragedy after tragedy. He lost his family. He lost his herds. He lost his health. And then his friends took away his dignity by attacking his integrity.  That’s all he had left and his friends took it away.

I’ve found that when someone wrongs me I have a tough choice to make. Either I try to get even in some form or fashion.  Or I have to begin praying for that person.  I honestly believe that prayer is the only antidote to anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness.  You can’t just forgive. You’ve got to pray for that person. Why?  Because it will change your heart. You’ll find that a supernatural love for that person disarms your anger.  Forgiveness will set your free.  And prayer is the key.

If Job can pray for his fair-weather friends who turned on him in tragedy, then we can certainly love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Mark Batterson is the lead pastor at National Community Church in Washington, DC and author of multiple books, including In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase. He is also author of a weekly “Evotional.”  He and his wife Lora have three children.