28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
It is so natural for us to feel bitter towards those who hurt us, be it verbally or physically. Revenge seems to be the sweetest response towards those who ill-treat or injure us. It is natural for us to use all our powers to repel injuries and to punish those who are against us; yet our Lord Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28).
To our carnal mind, it is impossible to love our enemies and bless them who curse us. Without crucifying our own carnal self and without relying on the divine aid, we will not be able to deal kindly with those who oppose or injure us. Since it is our Saviour’s teaching that we graciously and charitably deal with those who trouble us with their words and actions, we can trust Him to help us to do His will in this matter, including what appears to be impossible in our mind.
The Scriptures not only teach us this solemn spiritual principle (cf. Exodus 23:4-5; Proverbs 25:21; Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:35; Romans 12:20), but also promise us the power to perform it (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-9). The power to do the spiritual duties and bear spiritual fruit is bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9). When we rely on the Holy Spirit and yield to Him, we will be endued with divine wisdom and power to subdue our carnal tendencies and to fulfil the divine duties that we are called to do.
The Scriptures also prove to us that it is possible to relate to those who hurt us, according to the supreme spiritual principle that Jesus has given us. Jesus Himself is our greatest pattern in praying for those who persecute us. He prayed for those who falsely accused Him and crucified Him: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The first Christian martyr, Stephen, also earnestly prayed for his murderers, saying, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60). The apostles themselves were often targets of slander and persecution; yet how sublime and God-honouring was their response: “being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it” (1 Corinthians 4:12)!
The Lord disallows and utterly excludes all kinds of revenge and retaliation against those who malign and persecute us. The Lord’s desire concerning us is that we will be a benevolent people even in our sufferings.