When we spend time around fellow Christians, we should be treating each other with Christian love. We should be kind, courteous, considerate and caring one to another. However, when we are around people of the world, they can be rude, selfish, boastful, inconsiderate and even hateful; they may cut in front of you, hurt you, revile you, steal from you, and lie to you. It is easy to be loving when around Christians that exhibit the characteristics of Jesus Christ. But how do you respond to people when they persecute you and abuse you?
Paying them back for what they do to you, or vengeance, is not the answer. Romans 12:19 “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
At least part of the answer is given in Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Few of us go around cursing other people. If you do, you need to repent of your cursing. But do you ever wish that harm would come to those who harm you? Do you wish that God would give then what they deserve! Such an attitude is like cursing when you desire harm to come to them because of their actions. You are told to “bless those who persecute you.” Bless implies that you want good to come to them and you may be asking God to help them, meet their needs, and give them good things such as health and safety. Blessing instead of cursing is exhibiting a Christ like attitude. When Jesus was on the cross, He could have easily called down curses upon those that unjustly put Him there. Instead, He said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Steven, when he was being stoned, said “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60).
Jesus addressed this issue in Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Jesus said that God “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” I understand this to say that He sends His blessings on both the good and the evil individuals. In the same way, He wants you to give your blessings to those who are good to you and those who are your enemies. He wants you to have the attitude of blessing on everyone. This goes contrary to what comes natural; it is human nature to want vengeance, for payback to be made, and for the score to be at least even. But that is not God’s way for you. Instead, He wants you to bless everyone.
Those in the world love those who love them. They greet those who greet them. They are friendly to those who are their friends. If that is all you do, you are like everyone else in the world. God wants you to love and bless your enemies and in this way you will be very different from the world. It won’t be easy, but when you love and bless your enemies, you will be like Christ.
Love your enemies. Bless them and do not curse them. Then you will be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.