We are a big reading family. I love snuggling up with my girls on the sofa reading book after book after book. You should see us at the library - we check out about 50 books at a time! No joke!
While at the library last week, I picked up a book called, "The Story of Ruby Bridges". It looked like your run-of-the-mill book about segregation. But, as I read it to my children this afternoon, there was something different about it.
Read for yourself:
Mrs. Henry saw Ruby's lips moving and wondered what Ruby could be saying [to the crowd].
The crowd seemed ready to kill her.
Then Ruby stopped talking and walked into the school.
When she went into the classroom, Mrs. Henry asked her what happened. Mrs. Henry told Ruby that she'd been watching and that she was surprised when Ruby stopped and talked with the people in the mob.
Ruby became irritated.
"I didn't stop and talk with them," she said.
"Ruby, I saw you talking," Mrs. Henry said. "I saw your lips moving."
"I wasn't talking," said Ruby. "I was praying. I was praying for them."
Every morning, Ruby had stopped a few blocks away from school to say a prayer for the people who hated her. This morning she forgot until she was already in the middle of the angry mob.
When school was over for the day, Ruby hurried through the mob as usual. After she walked a few blocks and the crowd was behind her, Ruby said the prayer she repeated twice a day - before and after school:
Please, God, try to forgive those people.
Because even if they say those bad things,
They don't know what they're doing.
So You could forgive them,
Just like You did those folks a long time ago
When they said terrible things about You.
Wow. When was the last time I said a prayer like that about those that say ugly things about me, my children, my husband, our ministry, our decision to adopt?
I doubt Ruby Bridges prayed like this to appease other people. I doubt she did it to show others how righteous she was (gosh, she was only 7 and she prayed by herself!)
No, I think she prayed for her enemies because her parents taught her how to pray for others, especially those that persecute you. And, I think she prayed for her enemies because her LORD commanded her to do so.
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.