There was a period in my ministry and in our life together as a family where we came under prolonged attack. I believe I kept my heart right towards the main perpetrators, but at times I was made to doubt that because of the prayers of other believers. What do I mean? Well, at prayer meetings, there would always be somebody or other who would pray for “Dear….” and name those harming us in a tone of great warmth and friendliness and affection. What is more there would always be a few who would grunt in agreement! When they prayed like that I felt deeply wounded. It actually felt as though the wrong being done which already was like a knife that had been plunged into us sorely, was now being twisted by the hands of believers through their prayers and lack of thoughtfulness. Those who prayed thus, never prayed for me or my family with any sense of care. It was as though the physical attacks and threats against us, the attacks on our property through the night, the wrongs done to our children, the lies that were being spoken and written about me and the church were a light matter to be passed over. In fact the effects lasted many years.
Did my feelings in the Prayer Meeting show my heart was wrong, that I was not walking in forgiveness? All I know is that Hugh Black who I have often mentioned helped me much more in his prayers over the phone. He had heard something about what was happening, and phoned up to pray for me. “He simply said, “Lord, we come to you concerning that wicked man.” When he said that ,I felt the wrath of God against wickedness. It was so fearful that I almost wanted to run away myself from the release of God’s power and authority into the situation that came as Mr. Black gently prayed. It made me tremble and indeed shake physically, and I am saved! It made me fearful for the perpetrators of the wrong. I have never forgotten that moment. It is indeed a fearful things to fall into the hands of the living God. Somehow that prayer healed the hurt of those other prayers. The fact that God calls us to walk in forgiveness does not mean that I cannot acknowledge there is such a thing as evil and wickedness and there is such a thing as wicked people. Forgiveness means after all that there is some wrong that has been done.
Please remember to speak carefully when you are dealing with people who have been severely wronged. Forgiveness does not mean they should think of perpetrators of wickedness against them as anything other than perpetrators of wickedness against them who will either meet God in white hot wrath or will repent and therefore meet Him in His white hot mercy one day. Yes, our prayer should indeed be for forgiveness for those who wrong us, but that does not mean we need to call wickedness anything less than it is, or in any way disregard the damage done. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. He has been a murderer and a liar since the beginning. There are those who unwittingly become his channels, ignorant perhaps of the source of their deeds or the fruit thereof. There are however, those who cross a line in full awareness and offer themselves to be his channels. The bible records Jesus prayer for those who crucified Him, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” There were however those who did know what they were doing in the events that led to the cross and concerning them, the same bible in the gospels on the lips of Jesus and in Acts on the lips of Peter uses the words “godless… sinful… wicked.” To use the wrong Scripture in a circumstance or a situation can cause deep damage.
Don’t speak lightly of wickedness or forgiveness to those who have had many years of their lives destroyed by wicked people doing wicked things to them or those they love. To speak of forgiveness before the right time can be a form of abuse. The moment to speak of it will, indeed must come, but let’s think twice before we blithely say, “In the bible, God says, ‘I will restore the years the locust have eaten,’ you know!”
Maybe there is someone reading this who needs to know that God regards something that happened to you as wickedness by the hands of wicked people. You don’t have to pretend anything other or try and believe some other description of the story of the wrong done to you. I hope you might find a person who can pray with you with the honesty, the awareness, the realism and the power and authority of Hugh Black.
This is a serious blog, I know, but there you have it. May it bless those for whom it is particularly meant and help the rest of us to be wise and thoughtful in all our dealings with people.
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