“Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14
The original Greek word “bless” in this verse is specifically towards other people. It means to speak well of with praise and thanksgiving, to invoke God’s blessing upon them. You are to pray for their welfare as God perceives it for His actions in their lives.
Schwoo…now that is a challenge.
This is definitely not something I have mastered. Just yesterday in my small group we talked about forgiveness and how to pray for those who have hurt us. There wasn’t anyone there who doesn’t struggle with this. We have all been hurt by people. But we can break the chain of hurt. We can stop it in its tracks by changing our behavior. We can change how we react to the hurt. We can pray for the offender.
For instance, you love to shop. It relaxes you, it gives you a sense of satisfaction. Who doesn’t like a new pair of shoes? The problem is you can’t afford it, so you use your credit card. Now at the end of the month there is more bills left than there is money. You recognize this is hurting you, so you begin to pray about it. A friend tells you about Dave Ramsey’s course on Financial Management, so you sign up. Soon you learn how to make your money work for you. Now you put a little extra aside each month for a fun shopping spree. You have changed the behavior. You have taken the hurt and made it into a positive.
You can do the same thing when you experience hurt by people.
The pivotal moment in changing your behavior is prayer. The change in finances started when you began to pray about it and seek God’s guidance. It didn’t happen overnight. I takes nine weeks to take the financial management course. It took months, maybe years to pay off the debt and set up a workable budget. But it all started with prayer.
That is all God is asking you to do here. Start with prayer. Seek His guidance before responding to someone who has hurt you. Just like it takes time to get finances under control, it takes time to get our thoughts and actions in line with God. Praying for the person(s) who have hurt you doesn’t change them, it changes you. It draws you closer to God, it brings your heart in line with His. It reminds you, He died for them too. He didn’t just die for you, He died for everyone. All are precious in His sight. Even those who persecute you.