Monday, August 8, 2011

Blessing, not Cursing

Blessing, not Cursing

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." Romans 12:14 (ESV)

BLESS: eulogeo (to speak well of); from eu (good) and logos (something said, a topic, reasoning, a computation); from lego (to lay forth or relate in words)

PERSECUTE: dioko (to pursue, persecute); from dio (to flee)

CURSE: kataraomai (to execrate or to doom); from katar (imprecation, execration); from kata (down) and ara (prayer, as lifted to Heaven); from airo (to lift)

Bitterness and hate oozes from the heart, poisoning even our words. Perhaps the very best that could be hoped for from the heart of bitterness might be silence...cold, stony silence. But it's still an expression of bitterness and hate.

More commonly, every sentence spoken by a bitter heart will have a message, implied or directly stated, of vengeance and a desire to hurt or destroy. A curse is a prayer, a desire of the heart lifted up to God Almighty, asking for God to humiliate and destroy someone offensive. A curse-filled prayer is a natural response to an offense. Society restricts personal actions of revenge and justice. God Himself warns us of usurping His right to determining appropriate punishment and final judgement. So, a Christian who has been offended, has little opportunity to vent frustration and anger. A Christian with a bitter heart can only shut their lips tightly in bitter resentment, or ask God to do the punishing.

But Jesus describes a mind renewed by His Spirit of mercy and grace. He offers a complete transformation, from natural bitterness to supernatural grace. He describes a heart that blesses, rather than curses, an enemy. He says that a mind overwhelmed with His Spirit will speak well of an enemy before God. A Christian is to pray for good things for someone who has offended them.

With the healing influence of God's Holy Spirit, I will pray for good things for someone who has hurt me or humiliated me. I will tell others to pray for good things for the person who has offended me. I will turn my memories of hurt into prayers for healing for the sick, sinful soul who betrayed my trust.

I will bless my enemy.

After all, that is exactly what Jesus does for me when I ignore, reject, deny and disobey Him.

Image courtesy of Sias van Schalkwyk