“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:43-45 NIV
Yesterday we hosted a Bible Reading of over 200 individuals who read different passages to cover the entire Bible in 1 hour. Some read inside their home, some in the backyard, some read from the top of their house, and some read downtown. One police officer went to the scene of a couple of fatal shootings and read his selected readings with another pastor. He was acting like his Father in heaven.
We say often that as followers of Jesus, we are blessed to be a blessing. In reality there is a blessing when we bless. To speak well being over another does not come naturally. We have to learn to choose to speak blessing over another person. We begin to sound and act like Jesus when He said, “Father, forgive them, for the do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus said that we are to bless our enemies and those who mistreat us. That’s hard. We would rather ask for deliverance. We would rather ask for Jesus to give vindication. We would rather have justice served to the one violating God’s law. We would rather that God would make them pay to see how they have been mistreating us. But God has a different “rather” in mind.
When we speak “Blessing” over our enemies, we invite God to be merciful to them, just as He has been merciful to us. The invitation is consistent with His character of showing mercy and kindness to those who deserve it and for those who do not. Our words open wide the door for the Holy Spirit to begin removing the blinders that Satan has placed over their eyes. Eye for Eye or insult for insult, keeps the blinders intact. Words of blessing keeps prying away the excuses that don’t allow them to see God clearly.
There is another benefit to speaking blessing over our enemies. It moves us to the grace to forgive. When I focus on the injustice and how horrible I am being treated by someone, it makes it very difficult for me to even think about forgiving them. But when I speak favor and blessing over them, my heart begins to open to the process of forgiveness.
Another corollary benefit, I receive back in abundance in my life what I speak over others. When I speak forgiveness to my enemy, it opens the door for God to forgive me. When I ask for kindness to be shown, I become more aware of the kindness that God has given me. It’s not a one to one ratio. It’s a seed of blessing that you speak, that produces an abundance of fruit of God’s mercy over your life.
The final benefit, although not exhaustive of blessing our enemies, is the teflon coating that is applied over our heart. Blessing others who don’t deserve it, is like applying a teflon coating over your heart and emotions. This coating helps you to be unoffendable. When you love someone, it is much easier to overlook hurtful words and actions, just like God does for us. Blessing others moves us to feel love for our enemies, which in turn gives us more grace to forgive.
Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He will lead you to speak blessing over others and never cursing. May you experience the wonderful gift of choosing to bless.
Blessings Love y’all