In talking with someone for whom I care deeply for, I heard how “righteous” people had hurt him deeply and I felt so sorry that it had happened to him. I have seen people who look “righteous” in front of people but when backs are turned and they think no one sees, they are rude, mean, and abusive to people that they deem “less than”. It is not a pretty sight.
There are times this has happened to me and at a very young age, only five years-old, strange how memories will come back so strong from long ago. It was the wife of the children’s minister at the Georgia Camp Meeting and if I close my eyes I can still see her face leaning over me with a scowl on it. I don’t remember why she didn’t like me, but she made it very obvious and was actually mean to me when her husband wasn’t looking. I didn’t tell my parents, somehow I thought I had done something wrong to cause her to not like me, but I refused to go back to the children’s service, I chose to go to the adult services instead! A few years ago I took my mother to her college reunion and that couple was there, I saw her across the room and recognized her and I really wanted to go to her and tell her that how she treated me as a little girl had stayed in my memory for all of these years, but I didn’t. Two weeks later I was very glad that I hadn’t yielded to that ugly thought because I heard that she had died.
The next incident didn’t involve me personally, but I saw an act of cruelty to an animal, by a man I had been dating, that I could not get out of my mind. I thought he was a good person, but I saw him kick a helpless opossum off my back porch, which is 30 feet off the ground, then watch the poor animal hit the ground and laughed about it getting up and limping off. It literally made me sick to my stomach. In my estimation, a person that will be that cruel to a helpless animal no matter how ugly it is, would not be someone I would want to trust with my life. That was an “Aha” moments to which I am happy I paid attention!
If you expect God to hear your prayers, you need to learn to treat your fellowman with courtesy and love. Is it in the Bible?
Read on: Isaiah 58: But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and You don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and You don’t even notice?’ “Well, here’s why: “The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kinds of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? Or put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like? “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
If your prayers are not getting answered, maybe you ought to do a little inward inspection, ask yourself if you love God, are humble before Him, and love and treat your neighbor the way you want to be treated, even if you don’t like him!