Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
One of the hardest things that Christians are asked to do is to be nice to people who aren’t nice to us. Over and over, Jesus set a standard of loving others, regardless of how they treat us.
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…” (Luke 6:27)
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1)
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34a)
It’s a theme that was so clear, that Jesus’ followers picked up on it and lived it out. They wrote about it, and when they were persecuted, they let their love lead the way. They prayed for the people who were trying to hurt them, even while they were preparing to die.
It’s doubtful that any of us will have to die for being a Christian. But that doesn’t mean we won’t suffer in some way for having a faith in Christ. When we do, we can respond with anger and hatred, and that might feel like the right thing to do. But the greater call to us is to show love to those who hate us, and even to pray for them. It’s not easy, but our love in the face of persecution may be the very best way for us to tell others about Jesus.
Reflection copyright © 2015 Doug DeBolt
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.