Luke 6:28. “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Some translations use revile in place of mistreat. The synonyms for revile take in a broad spectrum of attitudes, speech, and behavior. Here are a few: abhor, abominate, detest, hate, loathe, anathematize, censure, condemn, damn, decry, denounce, attack, blame, criticize, fault, slam, belittle ... the list goes on!
Jesus says we are to bless such as mistreat us in these ways. Did He not do so? Certainly in the churches today, evidence points to the fact that more is thought of avenging ourselves than of following Christ Jesus. There is more of the spirit of the world driving attitudes and behaviors than the Spirit of Christ.
1 Peter 3:8,9 brings us back to the idea of blessing those who mistreat us and the reason for it: “... let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”
This brings on some real conviction by the Holy Spirit! Not condemnation but deep conviction that some changes are needed.
Might it just be possible that we are not enjoying some of the blessings that we would like to see in our life because we have not been the blessing - in the power of the Holy Spirit - that Christ calls us to be, the way Christ calls us to be? He poses a serious question, “Why do you call Me Lord, but you don’t really do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Such questions are hard, challenging, even confrontational, in the face of popular "easy grace” perspectives.
If we are called to bless, so that we may receive blessings in our life, as the chief Apostle points out, perhaps we have not planted the seeds of that harvest of blessing! Without planting the seeds there can be no harvest! It is a fairly simple matter, but perhaps gravely overlooked. We pray and pray for something, but fail to see that it is our own failure to think, speak, and be the seed of blessing that stands in the way! Yet the best blessing to desire is not of this world, but rather to eschew all such things to become more like Jesus! The Holy Spirit alone can awaken this desire. And so we should continue to ask, seek, and knock for the Holy Spirit, for the unregenerate, self serving will is certainly not going to make such a request. Another subject for another day…)
How can we expect to be blessed if we do not bless? To bless is to plant the seeds of blessing. There can be no harvest without sowing and tending the crop! Not once, but as the ever developing Spirit driven habit of life.
The Lord has opened the windows of heaven and poured out infinite blessing upon blessing. The thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy - chiefly by way of lies and deception. Christ, however, has shown us that to make disciples means teaching disciples to observe all that He commanded and revealed through His apostles. This includes that we are to bless and be a blessing - in thought, word, and deed. Might that include body language and demeanor? Attitude?
We’re called to be a reflection of His holy image and likeness. For the gospel message is not taught by words alone. It is revealed, and evidenced, by vessels filled with the Holy Spirit of Blessing!
If anyone wants to talk about “ascetic” practice, let’s begin with this one, a denial of the self that wants to condemn and criticize by instead putting forth Christ love. It is divine grace as He would extend it toward those we have difficulty with. Not so much those we get along with, or if we think someone deserves a blessing. God’s kind of love is not deserved or earned. It must be extended - by His living Body (what “church” really is) to those, poured out upon, who need its healing intervention. It is when we bless this way that God’s love can be made real to those who need to see Him in His true temples!
Here perhaps is the wicked way from which we must repent, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14, for the healing of our land as He promises. We may be good at pointing out the “big” sins of others and not ourselves participating in them (for example abortion and homosexuality and other perversions), but might we be abysmal failures at blessing and not cursing those with whom we don’t agree or even regard with disdain? Can we consider that and also begin to pray for our enemies as a way to bless? We may find that in so doing our own attitude changes, and we begin to see them in a different light - as those also for whom Christ died. It becomes hard to hate anyone as we pray for them.
So much dark reaction to so many things does not reflect the grace of our Lord. May we in the power of the Holy Spirit repent from the wicked way of cursing rather than blessing! Let it be so for the sake of the shed blood of the One we call, “Lord! Lord!” Our response needs to be His, proactive in every way rather than reactive.
Personal "Project Blue Beam", so to speak. "For my eyes only." (Or is it to hazel, green, or brown eyes also that He speaks?)
"Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7:3-5.
Might that beam - a huge heavy piece of wood - be a good place to hang ego, and crucify self? Sure doesn't work to use it to try to see my brothers and sisters through that.
If the "lens" I see through is opaque
as this log, then I'm blind as can be. Then I may just be like "Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard this, and they asked Him, 'Are we blind too?' 'If you were blind,' Jesus replied, 'you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see,
your guilt remains.'"
Ouch. Nothing for it but to "log out".
We're seeing, yet again, the cumulative results of singing "I Do It My Way" - the world's way - unfolding all around us on every level, political, domestic, personal, corporate. Every system of the world. Everyone has the notion that his own way - interest, plan, purpose, philosophy, agenda - is "the" answer for mankind (where the self serving reality of being top dog is the real driver masked behind these operations and paradigms).
But none of it works! The insanity is that the same anthropocentric ideologies, cloaked as humanitarian or philanthropic, have been offered ad nauseam for millennia, and repeated over and over again to no avail. And we keep falling for it, falling prey to it.
What would happen if, instead of choosing the insanity of always doing what we've always done, and getting what we always get - as if the repetition of error and bad direction is going to make a difference "this time," - we would change our tune, and start singing, "Have Thine Own way, Lord"? The Way that is not our way! The Way of full surrender to God in Christ!
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21
The Way of Jesus Christ. Seldom invoked. Almost never tried in a get even top dog world of self interest. Blessed are they who not only hear the Word of God, but keep it. ""My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it." Luke 8:21.
Something ponderable to pray about for starting the weekend. Or better yet, a whole new direction - sung to the melody and rhythm of a new song, one in harmony with the Way and Will of the one we call our Lord.
I have been puzzling over the times and my own personal events and issues. It became evident that what I needed to do is accept the invitation of James 1:5 - to ask for divine wisdom.
Here are some conclusions where I have been directed along those lines, after hours of prayerful musings.
Is the “mystical reality” of today that the Ekklesia of the Firstborn now follows her Lord into the death of her current forms? Each of us “living stones” may do well to see our current reality likewise - as tiny “holograms” of this process. A co crucifixion of forms which have served the Divine purpose for a time. This is on a grand scale encompassing every level of being. The frustration comes when we try to figure it out or to “blame” any one cause, as we’re prone to do.
We want to bring back as did His disciples the Jesus we walked with for three years and grew to cherish. Yet was His death also not mysterious, allowed at the hands of a corrupt state in league with a co-opted religious system? It was too surreal, too inconceivable, too horrible for them! But we can identify with how blown away they were, as they lived the agony of loss beginning the night He was betrayed, until He revealed Himself to them in the new form of His resurrected body. Acts 10:40,41 make it clear that He was not visible or recognizable to all, but only to those to whom He revealed Himself.
What if the current puzzlements are a replay so to speak?
What if these times likewise are the very hand of God as He leads the Bride and readies her, as She endures then, trusting that all the works of the devil are being removed as She is likewise simultaneously brought into the glorious state which is Her destiny in Her Bridegroom, to be made like Him and dressed in His righteousness? She goes with Him through the cross into resurrection and into glory!
What’s seen on the surface is intense, chaotic, puzzling tribulation. The ignominy of the Cross! Beneath it are the final stages are being wrought, by God’s own providential hand, the finished product of salvation. (See Romans 8:18-30.)
These are only concluding thoughts offered to spur our thoughts to consider a direction where they may not have gone before.