Some concepts in God’s Story are difficult to understand. Other concepts however are difficult to really do. I think that Romans 12:14 is not so much hard to comprehend, but very challenging to actually put into action. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Not only are we to pour out happiness on those who harass us and treat us unjustly, but Paul tells us to talk to God about these people, asking Him to show them favor too. When we can do this, we get a better grasp on the forgiveness He has extended to us. So here are some ideas for practicing this good principle. When road rage strikes, try praying out loud in your car for the other driver instead of motioning a curse. If your boss or a co-worker or a teacher is demanding, take their names before God’s throne as you walk into work or school, and especially before any specific meeting. Rudeness may be on the rise, but we as God’s children do not need to swim in that same easy current. By staying close to God we can overcome and respond with sincere kindness.
When I was learning the Thai language, my first school closed down so I needed to switch schools. I found the new school’s director very challenging to connect with and condescending toward my language goals and progress. I wanted to avoid him, so during my breaks, I walked laps around the block and would sometimes cry. While feeling sorry for myself in my less than supportive environment, God prompted me to pray for the school’s administration and for its teachers. This simple act of obedience increased my closeness to God, and He helped me to see that there was more going on at the school that needed my prayer. Day-by-day, I began building deeper relationships with the Thai teachers, getting to better know them as individuals and I continued to pray for the director. Learning Thai was my main objective, but God did not want me to curse those who were making it extra difficult, but to bless them by praying and by caring. There are lots of ways we can put into practice Paul’s admonishment to pray rather than to curse. People need changing and we are all people. God is the One who changes people best; let Him start with us and see how He opens up the opportunities for us to then compassionately love others, even those who persecute us.