“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” – Romans 12:14
What typically happens when someone hurts us? We open our mouth and say something we later wish we hadn’t.
It’s our natural reaction. We feel wounded, we haven’t had time to think things through, we haven’t thought about whether or not the person meant to hurt us ... it’s the instant that it happens and we say something nasty in return.
Paul says: Hold your tongue. Don’t say it. I know you’re hurt … but you have to keep a lid on what you say, whether directly to the other person or about that person to others.
But the verse doesn’t stop there. I almost wish the verse read, “Be silent when people persecute you; say nothing and do not curse.” But it doesn’t. It says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
Blessing, then, is what we have to do. We have to go beyond self-controlled silence. We have to come to the point where we can actually bless the person who has hurt us. Blessing can mean that we:
--- Pray for them. Pray for God’s grace to work in their lives, for God’s protection over them, that God would help them see how they have hurt you, that God would bring them to repentance, etc.
--- Speak kindly to them. Don’t look the other way whenever you pass … smile and say hello. You may not be able to go beyond common courtesy – after all, we’re not saying you have to try to be best friends here – but make sure you always remain courteous and respectful.
--- Forgive them. Whether that forgiveness is dealt with between you and God alone, or whether you do have the opportunity to tell them that you forgive them, do it. Offer forgiveness. It frees you, and lets them know that it’s okay to come back to you and try to heal the relationship.
So the next time someone does something or says something that hurts you, don’t curse – do bless.