“Bless them which persecute you:
bless, and curse not,
Rejoice with them that do rejoice,
and weep with them that weep.”
Ugh! Blessing those which persecute us? That’s a tall order. I mean, we’re only human after all. We have emotions, different personalities, reputations to uphold, pride, self-respect, other things to do, and sensitive stomachs. We can only hold our breath, have restraint, and put up with persecution for so long, before we have to let off some steam, or we’ll explode. (Or, at least that’s what we think.) However, from this verse in Romans 12, we see that God says we can retrain our thoughts and restrain our tongues better than we think.
The reason it’s not easy is because; we’re under the sin curse where gracious behavior doesn’t come naturally. Sadly, we come out of the womb selfishly ready to fight, defend, demand, stand against, and rebel. As a result, we don’t usually like to share our energy, efforts, or stuff with those that persecute us.
Being hospitable to mean people is a learned trait. Love and kindness are attributes we must be taught and practice in our daily lives. As impossible as it seems to bless our persecutors, God’s Word shows us that we can, and should, love, forgive, and be thoughtful of others, even the ones whom we feel deserve it the least.
Growing up, my tendency was to view relationships first with a trusting, “Pollyanna” perspective. Today, I still do, until proven otherwise. At times, even with the knowledge of age and experience, I innocently believe that most people like each other and want to get along.
I truly want and desire to love everybody, and always hope they’ll want to love me back. However, reality has taught me that persecution is part of the relationship territory, and that love and kindness will not always be reciprocated.
My Pollyanna attitude has been adjusted a few times which has taught me the difference between how God wants me to treat others, and how they may treat me. Not everyone will like us, respect us, or be kind too. As much as we may desire it, it isn’t going to happen. God knew we would be persecuted as expressed in this verse:
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:12
It’s takes a gracious heart to show hospitality and bless those who persecute us.
That act may not bring us solace or rejoicing, but it will comfort us to know we have pleased God with our obedience.
It’s much easier to rejoice with those who are rejoicing or to weep with or for those who are weeping. Blessing persecutors can get a little more complicated and take prayerful consideration.
There are times when we’ll use our hospitality to rejoice in the accomplishments and announcements of life, and some occasions when we’ll use it to comfort others in times of hardships. There will also be times when we’ll have to go beyond our strength to bless those who wrong us.
Let’s review the Greek definitions for the main words for “bless” in the Romans 12:14 passage to see how to:
- speak well of
- invoke a benediction upon,
Creation is dripping with the Creator’s love. It’s up to us to spread it around.
Bring It Home
How hard is it for you to show your persecutors hospitality?
Praying for you as we grow together,