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Bless your persecutors
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To say that we live in a country that is divided on many issues would be an understatement. We have gotten to the point that individual states are defined as either blue or red and most of us know what that means.
Of course, the debt ceiling disagreement finally was settled last week, but certainly not in an amicable way. In fact, both political parties continue to blame the other for that long impasse as well as for the downgrade of our nation’s credit rating.
At some point I just want to say, “Can we all just get along?” The longer I live and the more I observe people, the more convinced I become that we probably can’t.
I do not mean to sound overly pessimistic, but we have fundamental differences of opinion that cannot be easily compromised. However, it goes even deeper than that.
The fundamental problem in our world today is that we are all sinners. That does not mean we are as bad as we could be. It simply means that we are not as good as we should be.
Each of us, without exception, has a selfish streak. Some might even say it is a selfish gene. Whatever the case, we want things our own way. And we often are willing to fight for that.
That is why the teaching of the New Testament is so difficult for us to swallow. Jesus said, “Pray for those who use you.”
And Paul wrote in Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” That verse certainly would constitute one full chapter in the book I would like to write entitled, “Things I Wish the Bible Did Not Say.”
Why do I wish the Bible didn’t say that? Because it’s hard. It’s not natural. It goes against everything I feel.
I do not want to bless those who persecute me. I would rather curse them. And if you are honest with yourself, you probably feel the same way.
And yet the Bible calls us to a different ethic. Both Jesus and Paul call us to a behavior and an attitude that goes against the grain.
The fact is that Jesus lived this way. He blessed those who persecuted them. He offered (and still offers) forgiveness to those who have rejected him. And we have been called to live like Jesus.
I know it will not be easy for us, but what an impact we could make on our world if we would follow the biblical teaching here.
I challenge you to make it a point this week to bless someone who is not nice to you. Choose to treat them as Jesus would. See what happens, both in your life and in theirs.

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