Blessings and curses. They are ever before us. And the liberty is ours to choose one or the other. Sure, we can’t choose everything in life (like where or when we were born) but we do have the liberty to respond to each and every situation by either choosing to bless or to curse. When Jesus was on the cross, for example, he chose to bless. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” That was a true blessing in every sense of the word — I can think of few greater.
Stephen followed after his Master, when, as he was being stoned to death, he said, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” And yes, he was indeed being sinned against. No one is denying that people get sinned against. The issue is not that we can control any of that — though if we can, it would be better not to get sinned against. In this regard, I think of Jesus who said, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another” (Matthew 10:23). We are not to be as doormats. Our command is to be ever active, ever willing, ever dynamic, as it were — yes, fleeing if we have to!
But how we handle the sin, this is another story. We CAN decide to either bless or to curse in response. Now here is the key to understanding just how important it is to BLESS and NOT CURSE! First, you want to align yourself with God whenever you speak or pray, do you not? For if you align yourself with God, then you will be in God’s will. God will bless you in return. This is what 1 John 5:14-15 teaches, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
So we need to pray in God’s will. We need to “behave” in God’s will. It needs to be systemic, really — not just the odd prayer, but an entire LIFE that is devoted to aligning itself with God and his will. That’s why I say, it is not just a matter of praying in God’s will, but everything we SAY must be in God’s will, as well. And this is where blessings and curses comes in powerfully. In Romans 12:14, Paul writes, “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” To the same extent that we truly LIVE by this standard, in our conduct and our speech and our prayers, we should expect to be blessed in return.
Thus it is that we — myself included — need to steer ourselves away from even the remotest suggestion of cursing, and turn our hearts towards blessing others, instead. Does this mean we can never drive “sinners” out of the temple, like Jesus did?! And can we not rebuke “Pharisees”? Well, no, it doesn’t mean we can never do any of this. That is, if you are confident that your heart is free from bitterness then “go ahead and do anything you want”. May God be with you! But, as Solomon said, be forewarned: “For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)
The issue here is not whether you can rebuke or correct another person, or do the “Martin Luther” thing (God used him as a fiery opponent of the evils of his day). The real issue is making sure that your heart is right before the Lord so that you can really flow in God’s Holy Spirit and have his power and authority in your life — so that you can be used of God to the greatest possible extent. That’s the real issue. And later, if I have time, I will continue this topic.
May the Lord bless you as you consider these things.