Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Paul progressed from discussing life in the body of Christ to how a believer should live their life and how they should respond to people that try to persecute them. It is easy to think how hard life would have been for early Christians. As Americans we do not feel the same sense of danger as some Christians but we can still feel the sting of persecution. Paul provides a Christian viewpoint and an example of how we are to respond when these situations occur.
Bless is an action verb. It means I am instructed to act in a certain way. To consciously make a decision to behave in a certain manner. Curse is also an action verb. When dealing with someone that is persecuting me, I can choose to act on one of two ways. I can behave in a hostile manner and with the same level of respect they show me or I can react in a way that is opposite of their behavior by showing them love. Paul’s example of a reaction is counter cultural to the way most people think. Rather than getting even or having hatred toward our enemy we are to love. We are not even instructed to just let it go or turn the other cheek but we are to bless those that persecute us and not curse them. Bless means to bestow God’s favor and kindness. Curse is basically the opposite. That just doesn’t make sense. Why should I have to bless someone that is hostile to me, that treats me or my family unfairly or poorly simply because of my religious beliefs? Persecution can come in many forms. Of course it can occur through non-Christians but it can be through believers as well. It doesn’t matter where or by whom, we are instructed to bless those that persecute us. Not out of obligation but out of love. If I curse someone that persecutes me, how am I any better that the one doing the persecution? I have stooped to that level and there is no difference in my behavior than theirs. I must remember that they persecute out of ignorance and that by providing them with an example of how to live a Christian life according to your word, they have a better chance of coming to know you, to understand you and to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. God provided me with the example of how I am to live my life. Jesus lived a perfect life in God’s eyes yet while he was on earth he was persecuted. He was mocked, pursued, jailed, and beaten. They tried to stone him multiple times. Yet he never did anything but show love, mercy and kindness. I am called to be a reflection of the light and by blessing those that persecute me, I am continuing to live by Jesus’ example.
It is hard to bless those that treat us poorly. Even more so when we are persecuted by those that call themselves Christians. Help me to be slow to anger and quick to think of you during times that I think I am being persecuted. Help me to remember that they persecute out of ignorance and that by providing