Bless and Do Not Curse
When you think about persecution, what comes to mind? Maybe it was that coach who hounded you through High School. For some of us, it was probably that click of people through our childhood years that tormented us in the halls of our schools. Maybe it’s a manager or boss, or even a spouse? Whatever persecution looks like to you, let it resonate inside for a moment. How does it make you feel when you think about it and the mistreatment? How does it feel when people are hostile toward you? When they harass you? Make fun of you?
Whatever persecution looks like to you, for me, I have all manner of instances that come to mind. Yet, none of them matter when I think about the persecution that Jesus contended with. I am not making light of our struggles and this is not an over-spiritualized ‘we should just accept our plight’ sort of declaration. Our struggles are real. Be it the way other people look down on us because our situation is not the norm, or the way they cut us to the core with snide, backhanded remarks. However, if we think about the persecution that Jesus suffered, we can see that He suffered just like we do and worse.
Looking at the Gospels, much like many of us, Jesus came into conflict with His family, His brothers did not believe in Him, and He was scoffed at in His own hometown. He had people talking trash about Him, Influencers and the Who’s Who saying He was a false prophet and even a demon. His closest friends tried to manipulate Him and vie to be His favorite.
Then, He was tried for a crime He did not commit and found guilty by popular opinion. That is not even considering how badly He was beaten, His skin flayed open by the whip and He was thrown around with no regard to how it hurt Him. All his stuff was taken from Him and divided up in front of Him. Then He was made to carry His cross and was nailed to it. His friends had abandoned Him, some of which denied Him and one of which sold Him out.
Everything He went through gives me pause. Because rather than be vengeful, He asked God to forgive everyone! Including the thief on the cross next to Him giving Him flack as He hung there. That is the Christ that died and rose again so that we may have eternal life! That is the Lord we are called to live our lives for. He could have ended it at any moment but chose to be obedient to the Father. He chose to bless rather than curse!
Romans 12:14 is at the heart of what Christ did for us. He could have cursed all of us but chose to bless us with reconciliation with God and eternal life if we accept His gift. It also challenges us to become more like Him. I pray none of us must endure the persecutions that Christ, Paul or any of the believers of today face in various parts of the world. Yet, I pray that we can look within and see where we need to do more blessing, rather than cursing! To be more like Him, and less like who we have been.
Until Next Time,