In many ways, we have become very thin skinned and hard hearted. The result is living in a very offended culture. This culture makes maturity a challenge because maturity comes through challenge, not ease. When we look at Jesus, He was thick skinned and soft hearted. Choosing to respond with truth rather than react with emotion takes thick skin and a soft heart. Choosing to give respect rather than grumble against our leaders takes thick skin and a soft heart. Choosing to disagree politically and love unconditionally takes thick skin and a soft heart.
We know Jesus often withdrew and prayed. I can't say for sure, but I imagine some of that time in prayer was spent on His enemies. I imagine some of that time in prayer was spent on the people who did not agree with Jesus. The context of the Scripture for this blog is one of repentance. Paul basically tells Timothy he was a horrible leader, a violent persecutor of the church. But God's grace was greater. Then he tells Timothy pray for those in authority. My guess is he instructed Timothy to do this becasue he knew many people in leadersihp don't know God. A mature person has thick skin and a soft heart. The skin has been thickened over years of challenge and the heart softened by years of prayer.
Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
“Thank You, God, for creating a way through Jesus for me to have Your presence wherever I go. I want to specifically ask You to watch over those in authority over me - specifically those leaders and future leaders of our government. For those who don't know You, I pray they would come to know you God. I pray Jesus would be their King and Savior. As Paul was transformed by your grace, I pray they would be transformed by your grace. For those who know You, give them wisdom and grace, watch over and protect them, help them to know and love You more. I ask You to watch over our city, nation, and world. Bring peace and help us all take steps toward You (name areas where you feel a burden for your city, nation, and the world). As followers of Jesus, may we trust in You and not a political party for our hope and peace. May we be one so we can influence many. In Jesus' Name, Amen.”