Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.– Romans 12:14
This verse and the following two verses deal with the attitudes we must have toward others. The running theme we’ve been seeing in these verses is love – specifically the love which places others before ourselves. In this verse we are commanded to do something completely against our nature – “bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”
This is very similar to what was proclaimed in the sermon Christ preached in Matthew 5-7. Let’s take a look at Matthew 5:44-45. Pay special attention to verse 45.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
We are to bless those that curse us and do good to them that hate us. Why? Notice what he says – “That ye may be the children of YOUR Father.” He says “YOUR Father” which implies they are ALREADY children of the Father. They were children in ESSENCE, but they needed to be children by IDENTITY. In other words, they needed to be LIKE their Father in heaven. What does the Father do for the unjust in THIS life? He blesses them. He gives them the sun and rain, two magnificent blessings the lost world abuses. And with the world’s abuse of God’s blessings, what does the Father continue to do? He keeps letting the sun shine to give them light, and he continues to allow the rain to fall to water their crops. Our Father delights in blessing His children in a special way. We saw how God distinguished Israel – the Apple of God’s Eye – from Egypt. Israel had blessing while Egypt was cursed. Israel was given light and life in their dwellings while Egypt was given darkness and death. This is how God wants it to be in eternity for His children. His children will have eternal life, living in the light of God’s glory while those who reject Him will die an everlasting death in darkness and torment. This is the reality for eternity. But in this life here on earth things are a bit different. The Body of Christ isn’t yet complete. An enemy of the Body of Christ is an enemy of God. When someone hurts a child of the Heavenly Father, the Father hurts as well. What does the Father do? He continues to bless His enemies. We should do the same.
I’ve had to put these verses to test before. I’ve had enemies hurt me and take advantage of me. I fought bitterness for a while because of it. The bitterness brought me down spiritually. The bitterness did nothing to help anything at all. However, once I gave it to the Lord and allowed Him to help me pray for them – not that their lives would be ruined but that they would be pricked in the heart from the GOODNESS of God – the peace of God that resulted was out of this world! Desiring God to curse them only fed the carnal man (See Renewing the Mind – Parts 2).
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. One may argue, “But David desired God’s curses on his enemies.” Well, take a look at Psalm 109, one of the “Imprecatory Psalms” – psalms which ask a curse upon enemies –
- David was right with God (Psalm 109:1-5)
- David is guiltless and honest (v. 2-3)
- David loves and prays for his enemies (v. 4-5)
- David realized his own need for God’s Mercy (Psalm 109: 21, 26; Also Psalm 139:19, 23-24)
- David continues to praise the Lord (Psalm 109:30-31)
Notice some other details –
- David’s enemies were firstly enemies of God (Psalm 37:12)
- David left the problem to God (1 Samuel 24:1-8)
Now, let me ask you . . . Can you put a check mark next to each of those points? David could. Before you start to claim the Psalms as an excuse to curse your enemies, you may want to take a DEEPER look into how David handled persecution from his enemies.
Take up the Lord’s command. “Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”