Did you watch that video for even
a second? Go back and do it now! How many Seinfeld fans are out there, besides
me? The show about nothing that captivated audiences for years. And still does.
Jerry and his mailman nemesis,
Newman, were always at odds. This video makes me laugh.
Every time Newman
persecuted Jerry somehow, he’d make that fist, grit his teeth and hiss, “Newman!”
Every felt like that? I have.
Today, we’re moving along in our
study on Romans 12:9-21 in the context of humility. How do we keep it humble? I
hope you’re applying what we’ve studied so far to your life and seeing results!
If you need to catch up, here are the links for the previous studies. Part 1,Part 2, Part 3
, Part 4
, Part 5
Let’s look at Romans 12:14. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do
not curse.” NKJV.
Here it is in the MSG. “Bless your enemies; no cursing
under your breath.”
How can we bless those who persecute us? Slander,
gossip, maliciousness, hurt, disappointment, abandonment, liars, cheaters,
stealers. The whole lot.
Bless them? Like, for real? Maybe you say, “I’ll bless them when
they apologize first. I didn’t do anything wrong!” Perhaps you didn’t. Perhaps
Let’s take a look at the words in the original Greek to
discover some richer meaning.
First off, we live in a time where we don’t actually bless
people, except when they sneeze. The concept is tad foreign to us, but in ancient
times, blessing was a serious deal. It had meaning.
The word “bless” in the Greek is eulogeō Kind of looks like eulogy doesn’t it? Some
of you are thinking, I only wish my enemy was dead! It means, to praise,
celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings; to consecrate a thing with solemn
Persecute might mean something
different to each of us. Let’s see it in the Greek. The word is diōkō and it means, to make to run or flee, put
to flight, drive away; to pursue (in a hostile manner); in any way whatever to
harass, trouble; to be mistreated, suffer persecution on account of something
comes from two root words that mean timid/fear and a word that gives the
picture of running or fleeing.
ever been so troubled and harassed you feel like running away? Maybe
physically, but what about emotionally? Spiritually? Has someone or something
gotten you so down that you’ve been driven away—from a relationship, a
ministry, a dream, the church, God Himself?
Most people’s first
reaction to conflict is to avoid it! To run.
doesn’t say to run.
says, to pray solemnly—earnestly—in a way that sets that person/s apart as
holy. “God, use them for your glory. A vessel of honor.”
6:12 tells us, “Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers
and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual
powers of evil in the heavenly world.”
are the vessels he carries out his hostile take-overs with. And if you’re not
paying attention, he might even prompt you to do something hateful, thereby
using you! Ouch!
go to God with our feelings over mistreatment, harassment? Absolutely. Can we
vent to God and be honest about what we’d like to say or do with those who hurt
us? Please do! But at the end of the day, if you let God administer healing, it
needs to end with earnest prayers that God will bless that person and use them
for his glory. That God will save them if they’re unbelievers.
curse or wish bad things on them. Though we certainly can imagine most vividly
them getting hit by a train, can’t we? Or we can dialogue in our head all the
hurtful things we could say to lash the flesh right off of them.
understands our hurts and anger—whether legitimate or misguided. But he doesn’t
want us to sin in our anger. Trust him to handle your enemies. To fight for
you. And know that sometimes persecution is allowed to sift us. To grow us. To
mature us. To prepare us for a position we might not yet be able to handle
We need humbled. And
so many times, God uses people to do it. Enemies and loved ones.
been there. Some of the people I should trust most, who should care about me
most, be my biggest supporters have slandered, rejected, and treated me hatefully.
But I learned a lot about myself through that time. And I learned how to grow
thick skin. As writer, God knows
I’m going to need it when my books are published.
He gave me a taste of rejection from those who should support me most. It was a
humbling experience and a little humiliating. And zero rejection I may have
received since then has compared.
Expect opposition to try and put you to flight. To distract you and keep you from fulfilling
your purpose and plans.
David was persecuted by Saul, who set him to flight for many years. And yet he
says in Psalm 23. “You set a table for me in the presence of my enemies…goodness
and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
No matter how fast
the enemy pursues you to overtake you, God’s goodness and mercy runs faster.
humbling experience. And pray for those who hurt you. Watch God elevate you to
end of the day, what he thinks about you is all that matters. In the words of
Big Daddy Weave, “Your name is all I’ve ever needed.”
Life Application: Start today by asking
God to forgive you for any retaliation you may have done to those who have hurt
you and then make a commitment to God to pray for them. For God to truly bless
and enrich their lives. Do it whether you feel like it or not and see what God
will do to your heart!
Prayer: Father God, we thank you
that your goodness and mercy run faster than the enemy, that he will never and
can never overtake us to destroy us. We may be knocked down, but we are never
defeated in Christ! We honor and praise you for that. We thank you for your
disciplining, even though it hurts. Humble us. Make us strong. Use us for your
glory. Fill us with your presence so that we can walk worthy of our calling and
fulfill every good work you have planned for us before the foundation of the
world. Bless those who hurt us and mistreat us. Show them the error of their
ways and illuminate them with your glory, majesty, power, and love. Whether
they ever apologize or not, rule and reign in their hearts. Heal their hurts,
bring healing to painful places in their lives and for those who do not know
you, draw them Lord with your grace and mercy. Overtake them Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Do you have a Newman in your life? What do you plan to do about it?