14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 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.” 20 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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14–21 (ESV)
One way to handle conflict at work, along with following proper established protocol by the company or institution for which you work, is to follow the guidelines set forth in Romans 12:14-21. While these commands and encouragements are applicable for the home, personal relationships, church and when engaging the public, they contain practical wisdom for the work place.
Today, we examine Romans 12:14. The text says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Let’s unpack the verse.
To begin with, the word “bless” (εὐλογέω; eulogeo) means to act kindly toward, or to speak well of, someone (James 3:9). The English word eulogy, meaning to speak well of someone at a memorial or funeral service, comes from this Greek word. The word is also a present, active command. It is an order God gives and it is to be continually and actively obeyed.
Who is the believer in Christ to bless? God commands believers to “Bless those who persecute you.” To persecute (διώκω; dioko) means to harass and to pursue someone to intensely oppress them. The verb is in the present, active, plural form. Therefore, the persecution is ongoing and it may come from several individual sources or situations.
In spite of ongoing harassment, the Christian is to personally speak well of those who are committing the provocation against them. This does not mean that the Christian ignore proper and established work place conflict protocol, but to do so pleasantly and graciously.
The Apostle Paul adds the following thought: “bless and do not curse them.” As before, the word bless is a present, active imperative verb. In spite of persecution, the command for the believer is to bless, rather than to curse the provocateur. To curse (καταράομαι; kataraomai) means to cause injury or harm with one’s words by calling on the name of a deity or god to condemn the individual. In other words, the believer in Christ is to never invoke God’s holy name to condemn, or damn, a person who is persecuting them. The verb is also a present and personal command, which is to be obeyed.
Jesus stated the same principle in His Sermon on the Mount. 27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28; cf. Matthew 5:44; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; 1 Peter 2:21–23). Jesus stated that believes are to love, do good, bless and pray for those who persecute them.
Dr. John MacArthur explains the command can be summarized as follows: “Treat your enemies’ as if they were your friends.”
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!