Monday, 18 November 2013
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14
Paul goes to the words of Jesus today. In Luke 6:27, 28 we read this –
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”
This may be one of the most difficult of all of Paul’s admonitions, but it is what we are asked to do. This is particularly so when we see that Jesus first spoke the words to us. To curse someone is, in essence, requesting their condemnation. But which one of us wasn’t first facing that fate (see John 3:18)? And yet we are pleased that God has shown mercy on us. Shouldn’t we likewise share the same feelings toward the lost?
These words, however, are often used as a pretext by those who would rip it out of its context to imply that we cannot call sin as sin. The implication then is that we are to bless any action by anyone without considering either the perverse nature of the individual or their action. Further, it is used as a tool against protecting oneself or taking any necessary action to guard against whatever harm may befall the believer. This is not the intent of these words. It is a clear and concise statement; we are to bless those who persecute us, not to curse them. This in no way implies that the Christian cannot at the same time use whatever means is available to secure themselves from others or to call out sin in the sinner.
Following the book of Acts, there are times where the apostles will do just these things. Throughout the epistles, we are given instructions into what is and isn’t acceptable behavior and even demonstrations of how to confront offenders. There is a balance which needs to be maintained and one cannot pursue this balance without being prepared through knowing the word and adhering to its precepts.
Life application: Though it is a difficult challenge, it is one prescribed to the believer – to bless and not to curse those who persecute us. God is the Avenger of His people and we need to make room for His wrath as we pray for those who come against us.
Heavenly Father, You’ve given me the difficult task of responding to those who persecute me with a blessing and not a curse. I sure need help with this one Lord. Grant me the patience in such trials, the ability to prevail over them, and the resolute determination to follow Your precepts. It’s tough Lord, but it has been directed by You, so it is attainable. Be with me in this challenge. Amen.