As we go through this last section of Romans, there are some tough exhortations. But remember, this part of Romans assumes that you’ve applied chapters 8-10. This gives you the ability for what’s ahead.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
The teaching here goes against our very human nature. This is impossible to do apart from the strength of the Holy Spirit.
This is more than just ignoring those who persecute you or putting up with them. The word, bless, means to speak well of them. To do that, requires us to see through God’s eyes. We need to see what they could become in Christ.
In this verse, Paul even repeats himself with emphasis. He tells us to bless them and don’t curse them – literally, don’t speak doom over them.
To accomplish this requires quality time with the Holy Spirit.
Another thing we must learn, according to Paul, is identification.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
We must learn to be happy in the midst of happiness and mournful in the midst of mourning. So often we miss this characteristic of Christ.
Jesus sent out 72 of His followers to do what He was doing. They got amazing results.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
They returned full of joy. What was Jesus’ reaction?
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
The phrase, full of joy, literally means to jump and dance around with joy. I can picture the Lord giving them all high-fives as they arrived.
Then again, when Lazarus died…
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
The fact is that Jesus didn’t need to weep. The Lord knew that He was going to call Lazarus back to life. But, He identified with those who were in mourning.
When we identify with others, it shows them that we care about what they’re going through – either good or bad. Many times that will open their hearts to allow us to speak the truth of the Word into their lives.
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:22-23
We need to follow Paul’s example.
Question: How have you been a blessing to someone else recently?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi