“Bless those that persecute you. Bless and curse not.” [Romans 12:14]
First, persecution means “chasing after in order to apprehend.” A lot of the “persecution” people clamor about, ain’t persecution. Persecution is a process, not a correction or negative comment. A kingdom leader correcting you isn’t persecution! Your mother-in-law telling you how to take care of her baby you married isn’t persecution. Someone on the job being a jerk isn’t persecution.
Persecution is someone targeting you to apprehend you. “This man is out to get me” is persecution, and that is a process. The word can be used positively to pursue something or someone, but in this context it is negative. Persecute means, “I’m out to get you.”
During the process, you bless the one who is out to get you. You do not curse. You do not overcome evil with more complex, refined, and strategic evil. You overcome evil with good. You bless the one coming after you. Win or lose – and that is all in the definition – you bless.
For the smug and sanctimonious, that can be a moment to play victim. Paul isn’t talking about signing up for victimization. He is NOT saying, “Now, lie down and take it like a rug for people to wipe their feet.” He is saying, “You have the greater position of spiritual authority and power; use it to show the kingdom culture’s greatest benefits.”
Not that a believer cannot curse. They can. Jesus did. His curse reveals the persecution purpose and process: He limits the tree, and the process withers it to nothing once He apprehends it. Jesus did bring curse upon things and revealed the curse that would befall His generation because of their own curse words upon themselves.
The point is that a believer can curse but doesn’t. The believer uses spiritual authority and power to bless the one pursuing to diminish them. While that seems like aiding and abetting your worst enemy, Paul says that reveals the kingdom culture. It reveals your faith, that no one has power over your destiny to empty it of life, that evil people cannot undo what God is doing, that greater is He in you than he operating in and through them. You curse from a strategic position of spiritual authority and power, and that blessing reveals that your God is greater than the cursing Accuser.
If you cannot bless the persecutors, you might consider whether or not you are consecrated enough to God that you are convinced He can produce your purpose through obedience, or that He requires your natural wisdom and strength to do a good job of being God. If you wish to use your spiritual authority and power to curse without no authorization but on your own, perhaps you should consider what level of witchcraft remains in your soul. If you cannot bless because you are a victim of out of control anxiety or anger, perhaps you should surrender fear and wrath to God.
If you cannot bless persecutors, you might wish to consider that your delegated authority and power for kingdom leadership lies dormant. In other words, when persecuted, you simply whine that “I shouldn’t have to go through this! Jesus, take it all away so I can get on with my little American life.” That means, you are a spiritual baby cakes that needs to grow up and act like an adult.
Jesus promised us persecution. Rejoice! Yes, relish the moment when the kingdom will shine through you instead of the pride that says you are too wonderful to deserve persecution, or that you deserve a better life than to face what Jesus faced.
Sometimes believers curse themselves in persecution with this level of entitlement pride: “I cannot be touched by persecution because I am a child of God.”
Jesus clarifies that as dysfunctional: “If they persecute Me, they will you. You are not above your Master.”
So, when you say, “I am above this persecution stuff because I am a child of God, you are saying you are better than Jesus.” Of course, some people have some kind of macho extremist faith statement that says, “Jesus took all the persecution so I can lie around at the pool drinking mint tea, eating bonbons, and enjoying cloudless skies until the Millennium.” Duh. (Go back to what Jesus says, believe that, and stop with the dull-witted deception of hell.)
“Bless and curse not.” Paul says, “Bless,” but adds, “Curse not,” just in case you build a faulty concept of blessing that allows you to bless and curse at the same time. It has been done.
It is the “hedge against diminishing supply” application of blessing that says, “Bless you, you filthy scoundrel,” attempting to appear in blessing while working curse into the framework of you piety. It is insincere at best, and makes kingdom look like circus-show scam at worst.
It is the “he is saying one thing but really doing another” that assumes the political spirit method of out-politicking your apparent opponent. It will curse while appearing to bless because it justifies curse with some kind of inner mechanism of doublemindedness, more commonly known as spiritually “passive aggressive.” It is a form of “killing them with faint praise” or “your quaint little starter home is very nice” (with the thought of “my six-bedroom mansion notwithstanding.)
Believers say “bless” and then “curse” by diminishing others in order to look greater than they really are. I’ve seen this many times with leaders doing the anointing comparison and name dropping the apostle game. They bless you and then say, “I run with Elijah and Moses come in the flesh with the Glory Cloud of Greater Goodness around my head.” They pat you on the head while ignoring what God does through you with fingers in their ears going “la-la-la-la” while touting the greatest of their personal “here’s come the ark” meetings.
They are blessing and cursing. They are hoping to diminish in order to avoid being out classed in their internal deception (pride), desiring to be what they conjure in their minds more than what God says they are. In this way, they diminish, and they may even persecute you by pursuing you to apprehend you: to define you to others by their own words that kill you with faint praise. They are not really blessing because they hope you get smaller, not bigger; they see you as competition or someone to be put in their place.
This has nothing to do with needed and authentic correction. That isn’t a part of blessing and cursing as a response to persecution. Correction, remember, isn’t persecution at all. It is an effort to increase and expand you, a form of blessing that you should value as blessing. Don’t mix the two things.
But, a person operating to bless and curse may be a persecutor themselves, and Paul mentions this in order to clarify what “bless and curse not” really looks like.