Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (ESV)
This is one of those verses where you might wonder if the Apostle Paul had lost his mind. He was a great thinker. He had studied under the greatest of the Pharisees. He had argued philosophy with some of the greatest of the Greek thinkers. Surely he could not possibly have meant that we are to bless those who persecute us. Could he?
This is one of the most fundamental Christian behaviors that we struggle with. When someone does us wrong, our first instinct is to do them wrong. In fact, we probably want to up the game a bit. If they do us wrong, we will do them even more wrong. After all, we not only need to even the score, we need to teach them a lesson as well.
Jesus came and showed us a different way. He was falsely accused, falsely persecuted, and falsely executed. What did he do in response? He prayed forgiveness for his accusers. He blessed and did not curse. There was no one who was more justified in bringing a curse to the unjust. He chose mercy over judgment.
Paul had not lost his mind. Here in this verse he faithfully reminds us what our attitude should be to those who do us wrong. We have Jesus Christ himself as our ultimate example. He encourages us to love others. We do not just love others who love us back. We are to love all people, regardless of how they treat us.
If you bless those who persecute you they may think you have lost your mind. The fact is, you have just acted like the Savior. Be blessed.