It is very easy to bless those who bless you and make you happy, but how are you going to respond to people who persecute you and try to deliberately injure you? Romans 12:14 says that you are to “bless them which persecute you….”
One day many years ago, my associate brought me the national newspaper of the country where we lived, and to my horror, there was a terrible article about me right on the front page! No one could miss the article because it was so huge—and it was filled with outrageous lies. The article contained nothing more than pure nonsense. However, I soon became very upset thinking about what people would think of me after reading that article. I knew that people tend to believe whatever is printed in the newspaper. The longer I thought about it, the more upset I became. I especially became infuriated with the female reporter who had written this barrage of nonsense and lies.
I wondered how I should respond. Should I put an advertisement in the newspaper to answer the allegations made about me and my ministry? Should I demand that the newspaper fire the woman who wrote this about us? What action should I take in response to this ugly development?
Adding to my shock regarding the article was the fact that the woman who wrote it had sat in my office and told me how blessed she was by our ministry. Only after reading what she wrote did I learn that she had completely lied to me. Nevertheless, rather than give in to my flesh and start ranting and raving about what she had done, I decided to obey the apostle Paul’s instructions in Romans 12:13, where he says, “Bless them which persecute you….”
The word “bless” is the Greek word eulogeo, a compound of the words eu and logos. The word eu means good or well and depicts any positive emotion. It is where we get the word euphoric. The second part of the word eulogeo is the word logos, which simply means words. But when these two words are compounded into the word eulogeo, it means to say good or positive things. The word eulogeo is where we get the word eulogy, which is the sermon preached at a funeral. It is supposed to be a time when good words are spoken in remembrance of the person who died.
So when Paul tells us to “bless them which persecute you…,” he is literally telling us that we are always to return a blessing for a curse, speaking only good words about those who wish to harm us. Taking this route must be hard on the flesh, for the Greek tense describes a continual action, implying that we must speak well of these people again and again and again. Our flesh may rise up to point the finger of accusation at someone and charge him with dishonest and wrong conduct. But that’s when we have to tell our flesh to be quiet! Instead of falling into the mode of accuser in an attempt to defend ourselves, we are to take the more godly route of blessing those who persecute us.
Paul says that when we are in these situations, we are to “curse not.” The word “curse” is the Greek word kataraomai, which simply means to verbally curse. In the ancient world, it was believed that when a person spoke good words about someone else, those words conveyed a blessing on that other person’s life. Conversely, people believed that when someone spoke curses over another person, his very words caused curses to come upon that person’s life.
This ancient belief in the power of words is actually borne out in the Scriptures. We should never forget the power that is contained in the words we speak. Proverbs 18:21 makes it very clear that the power of life and death is in the tongue.
So rather than get upset with the unbeliever who wrote that ugly article, I felt instructed of the Lord to start speaking blessings into her life. I realized that this journalist wrote that kind of article because she was lost and needed the Lord. So what good would it do if I allowed myself to speak curses over her life? It was time for me to rise to the occasion by deciding to “… bless, and curse not”!
So I started blessing this woman, thanking God for her and believing God to do something truly remarkable to make her life better and more blessed. As it turned out, that horrible article would be the last article of its kind about us to ever appear in that national newspaper. I am convinced that our decision to “… bless, and curse not” caused God’s power to be released in the spirit realm, preventing any future negative press from being printed about us in that particular nation.
If someone has done something bad or injurious to you, I realize how tempting it is to retaliate by saying a lot of bad things about the offender. But in the end, this fleshly reaction won’t help anyone. You never have to fall into this trap that causes you to be bitter and that releases a lot of negative words and curses on those who wronged you. You can take a redemptive approach—choose to speak only good about those who have sought to do you harm.
If you’ll take the right approach to this hurtful situation, your actions can release enough supernatural power to keep this type of event from ever being replicated in the future. But if you respond wrongly, it probably won’t be too long until you’re facing the same situation again.
Never underestimate the importance of how you react to those who persecute you. Your words of blessing and forgiveness can put to bed forever all the past wrongs ever committed against you. On the other hand, your words of retaliation can reignite the fire of opposition so that the same kind of opposition keeps reoccurring again and again.
That’s why it’s so important that you never forget—you must continually be careful with your words!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I want to forgive those who have done so much wrong by speaking lies and nonsense about me. I don’t understand why they have spoken those lies, but now people are listening to the garbage they have told about me. Rather than respond in anger and speak a bunch of negative words that won’t help anyone, I choose today to speak words of kindness and blessing over those who have tried to hurt me. Lord, I ask You to bless them, change them, help them, and lead them into a higher way of life. In the meantime, I am asking You to use this hurtful situation to bring about needed changes in me.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I don’t speak evil words about anyone—not even against those who seek to hurt me and to do harm to my life. My words are powerful, so I select the words I speak very carefully. I choose to bless and to curse not, and I declare that because I have taken this course of action, the strategies that the enemy is trying to use against me will be frustrated and stopped.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you recall a time when you were being verbally persecuted by someone who wanted to do you harm, but the Holy Spirit led you to refrain from speaking evil of that person and to speak only good about him or her?
- If you do recall such an event in your life, what was the result when you obeyed the Spirit of God and stayed upbeat and positive about your accuser?
- Can you think of a time when you said a lot of evil words about someone and those words eventually came to pass? Did you later regret that you had said those words?