Back in the 90s, my husband pastored a church. One day, a friend from our church came nearly in tears with a prayer request. It seems that her cousin's husband was demanding a form of sex that actually damaged her cousin. It created a tear in her rectum and caused her to bleed. The husband also gave instructions that my friend's cousin was not to tell anyone about his demands.
My first thought was, "Yes, we need to pray for this selfish, self-centered man right away so that he stops hurting his wife."
So my friend and I immediately went down on our knees and prayed for this couple. They used to go to church somewhere, but at the time they weren't going anywhere.
But a strange thing happened. I went down thinking, "We need to pray that this man changes his ways." I came up realizing, "This man doesn't fear God." A deep sense of needing to pray that he would fear God came over me. Somehow I knew that this man's actions brought him under God's judgement. And that place of judgement was a very bad place to be.
But this man was blind to it.
I stood up and told my friend, "He doesn't fear God."
Her eyes went wide and she confirmed it. "No, he doesn't. He told me that before."
I don't remember what I said after that. I don't even know if I made it clear to my friend that we needed to change our prayer focus, that we needed to pray that this man get a good healthy dose of the fear of God so that he could escape the judgement he heaped on himself.
I just know that my view of men like him changed. I now saw them for what they were, wretched sinners who need to escape the judgement to come.
My first Advent.
5 hours ago