Saturday, November 7, 2015

Romans 12:14 -- On Blessing and Not Being a Persecutor

"Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not."
Romans 12:14

This is a tough thing.  We all feel persecuted sometimes, because of the labels we give to ourselves, because of the subgroups we belong to... and a lot of the time there are some really good, well-justified reasons for feeling that way.  The fact is that on this earth we often persecute one another. Sometimes our offenses are clear and purposeful and sometimes they are inadvertent... both the ones that we receive, and the ones that we inflict on others.  Do we dislike a political group?  A racial group?  Another country?  People who sin in certain ways?  People who cut us off in traffic?  Have we been offended or oppressed by one person or one group, or by society in general for a long time?  I mean, we're right and they're wrong, right? ... But truth is, perhaps unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether we're 9 thousand percent justified.  If we can't let it go, then we make ourselves part of the problem.  We start persecuting others because they persecuted us, or whatever other reason, and we pass on the anger and the hate, and we become exactly what we are railing against.  We're the problem.
The only way to win, as the AI in the movie War Games learned long ago, is not to play.  God's advice here is the *only* way to peace--internal and external.  And it doesn't matter if the other side of whatever line we're currently concerned with continues to hate.  The love has to start somewhere.  And it starts with forgiveness, and with us learning more about our persecutors, and how to love them and bless their lives.  Is it easy? Almost never.  But it matters, and it works.  We can cleanse our hearts from hate and anger.  We can seek truth and goodness... bless people's lives... heal rather than harm.  We can be the types of people who love, no matter what.
Let's be clear here as well.  This verse doesn't say "thou shalt lay down as a doormat an allow thine enemies to trample thee underfoot."  That isn't what I am saying, and it definitely isn't what God is asking.  God is trying to help us to make ourselves better and happier people, and helping us learn to make the world better for others as well.  If we need some distance from another person in order to be okay and safe, that's not violating a commandment.  For our own sanity though, if nothing else, we do have to let go of the anger and hatred, even when it is well justified.  And we still have to learn to forgive and bless, even if it needs to be from afar.  Not because that other person or group or organization deserves it... I have no idea whether they do or not.  It doesn't matter.  It's because that is the only thing in the universe that actually stops the cycle of hatred and pain.  Today, let's listen to God's wisdom.  Let's love and forgive and find ways to bless, with God's help.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews