Updated: Jul 7
Bless your enemy. If we are to put off anger, then we are to put on something in place of it. What is it? Paul teaches in Romans 12:14 that we are to bless those who persecute us and that we are not to curse them. Paul's words echo Jesus' words in Matthew 5:43-44. We are to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us. The logic follows: 1) We have been the enemy of God, 2) He has shown mercy and love to us, 3) He shows His love, even now, to His enemies, and 4) as sons and daughters we are to imitate His love for others.
There are two clear teachings in these passages. First, there is no room for cursing those who oppose us. We will be ignored, disrespected, used, rejected, etc., but there is never an option for us to curse those who treat us poorly. This in itself is going to take an act of God for many of us because in our flesh, we want to defend and vindicate ourselves.
Second, we are instructed to bless those who oppose us. This is the "putting on" Christ and this response is only possible through God's enabling power. Our tendency, if we survive not cursing those who are against us, is to simply ignore or avoid them. However, this is unacceptable to God for us as His children. He calls us to something far greater. We are not to respond in anger or indifference, but we are to seek to bless them!
Blessing others means that we seek their good. We have their best interest in mind (we do not bless others for our own benefit, but for their benefit). Welch states, "to bless others is to surprise them with goodness, patience, gentleness, and self-control." We do not seek to give them what we think they deserve, but we seek to give them what we have received from God ourselves.
Blessing others when they have opposed us aligns us with God and causes us to be fully dependent upon Him in our relationships. This frees us from the slavery of anger and allows us to enjoy God's blessing in our own lives as well as being a blessing to others.