Romans 12:14: ‘Bless those who curse you.’
- Why we bless
- How we bless
The Christian message of love is what sets it apart from all other ethical or religious teachings. This message of love can be boiled down to four love commands, love God, love you neighbour, love each other and love your enemies. Not to say that other groups don’t emphasize love. No other ethical teaching has all four of these nor to the same extent or in the way we are called to pursue them. Our love for God, is not a self-interested love for what we can get out of God but we love God for Himself in a manner fitting to His supreme majesty and glory. This love is the placing of God in the proper place in our lives and affections as we respond to Him according to all that He has revealed of Himself to us in biblical revelation. Loving our neighbour as ourselves, not as far as is comfortable or affordable but an honest love that seeks another’s true highest good, not merely to satisfy another’s sinful fancy. Respecting the dignity of human beings as being made in God’s image and treating a person according to that dignity not according to what they have earned, their age, their usefulness in society, intelligence levels, etc. To love Christians who are one with us by the Spirit and to who we are eternally bound with an expression of family love fitting to our new unity. The prioritising of our new members who we are one with eternally over the goods of this world which are fleeting. But perhaps most surprising is the fourth, to love our enemies. In all other Ancient Greek literature until this time there are no other examples of this teaching of loving our enemy. Paul began this section of commands speaking about letting love be genuine and abhorring what is evil, v9. Here he is working that out as Christians love their enemies as they face the inevitable pain of persecution and sin.
In v14-21 Paul gives us four negative commands, accompanied by four positives that have to do with genuine enemy love. Do not curse—bless; repay no one for evil—do what is honourable in the sight of all; never avenge yourself—leave it to God; do not be overcome by evil—overcome evil with good. Today we are looking at v14, ‘Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.’ As we look at this command we will be looking into why we bless and do not curse when the OT seems to allow for it, and secondly we will explore how we go about fulfilling this command.