A Question I Was Asked:

Is 'I Will Bless Those Who Bless You and Curse Those Who Curse You' Still Valid for Christians in Our Day?

Is 'God will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you' still valid for Christians in our day? Some pastors seem to say yes, it is valid, others disagree. Where do you stand?

UK Apologetics Reply:

This comes from Genesis 12 and is one of the promises given to Abraham (originally named 'Abram') and to his descendants:

3. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3).

So these promises can be seen as both national and, to a degree, personal, since the last part - 'all peoples on earth will be blessed through you' - is well noted as referring to Christ and to the blessings of Christianity. As the many children of Abraham gradually built up in the world they were often providentially blessed and protected - often, but not always, because there is no promise of blanket protection here. Many believe that, at the Jewish peoples' rejection of Christ, He removed those protections at a national level (Matthew 27:24-25). So, yes, there remains an application here to Christians and many of us who are Christians have sometimes witnessed it.

So in times of God's choosing I believe that this is still valid, as long as we leave matters to Him, without thoughts of 'getting even.' Many years ago I was driving a big van when it had a puncture in one of the tyres. I stopped at a garage along the route I was travelling. The garage only served fuel so could not have helped me so I simply asked if I could use their phone to get help. To my surprise they absolutely refused. I was not best pleased with them but I did not argue the point; I walked a few miles along the road to the nearest public telephone kiosk and summoned help from there. A few hours later everything was resolved when help finally came. Thereafter I did not think too much about the incident.

Around 6 months later I drove the same route. To my surprise the garage had not only closed down, worse than that, it was looking completely derelict as though it had closed down years earlier. I was very surprised. I was already a believer back then, although I still had much to learn (this would have been about the early 1970s), and when I saw the now suddenly derelict garage I thought of this Scripture:

17. no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17).

If people set out to make enemies of us (when I write "us" I mean us Christians) for no valid reason then, yes, I think it can boomerang on them and I have noted it several times, but we need to maintain a good healthy Christian attitude with no thoughts of 'getting even.'

21. If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. (Proverbs 25:21-22).

So it is essential to continue to have the mind-set that you would help that person even if that person suddenly starts treating you badly.

Of course, Paul the Apostle quotes that Proverb. Let's see what else Paul states about this:

17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21).

Of course, we should not do good to such troublesome people in the hope that God would heap 'burning coals' on their heads but in the hope that God would soften their hearts, bringing them - should it be His will - to a place of Christian repentance. However, I must admit that on a few occasions I have seen our Lord bring stern judgment on those who make certain Christians their enemies without valid reason.

The last word on this point must be the words of our Lord from the sermon on the mount:

43. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45. that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47. And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5: 43-48).

Robin A. Brace. March 30th, 2016.