By Ernest O'Neill

What Happens When You Bless Your Enemies?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

You might want to look at that in I Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Give thanks in all circumstances, whatever they are like; whether you are being opposed at every turn or whether things are easy - give thanks in all circumstances, for this present set of circumstances that you have were lovingly played through by God, examined by him and the evil has been edited out and what is left is what is good for you; it’s the will of God for you, in Christ Jesus.

Why else bless those who persecute you? Because you are affirming what has happened in Calvary. There is a verse in Colossians 2:15 that says that God in Christ disarmed the principalities and powers. In other words he took all the elemental spirits of the universe, all the anger, antagonism, resentment, criticism and destructive power and he disarmed them. He has triumphed over them in the death of Jesus, and yet in a way that they can work and appear to express all kinds of anger against you, all kinds of opposition, all kinds of criticism.  But the anger has been taken away as far as its power to destroy you is concerned. God has triumphed over that in Jesus.

He has disarmed the principalities and powers and he has made a triumph over them in his son. You see, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, it’s not that terrible person that you meet week by week - that’s not who we wrestle against. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness in this present world (Ephesians 6:12).  Jesus has destroyed their power to affect your life. So when you bless those who persecute you, you set loose among them that power that alone can do anything with them. Naturally, all your opposition and your response to them and your ranting and your resentment can do nothing.  In fact that will just makes them madder and madder.  But when you bless them, you set loose and affirm the victory that God has wrought in Jesus over their anger and over their enmity and their hostility to you. So actually you do the only thing that affects anything -- you do the one thing that results in any kind of holding back of their power.

Another reason why you need to bless them is it keeps you free in your heart; keeps you clean. You know the way you get when you go home at night and you go over it again and again: “he said this and she said that and then he said that and look what he did to me.” First of all you have lost a night’s sleep, but you also filled your own heart with poison and resentment and criticism. William Penn is right when he said that when you get angry with another person, you do yourself far more harm than you do the other person. And it is so: when you resent those who persecute you -- that’s when the harm is done.  The harm is not done when they are persecuting you, the harm is done as you mull over it in your mind and go over it again and again and that’s why you should bless. Bless them.  Say, "Lord thank you that you used this person to begin to drive me deeper into your own heart and to work some of Jesus’ life in me, thank you Lord for that.  I want to bless them for that, because they were your unknowing servants and I thank you for that." And loved ones, as you do that your heart is filled with whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report and your own heart is brought into peace.  But above all you are living in reality; your God hasn’t left you defenseless.



Complete Talk: How To Treat Your Enemies