It rings with some familiarity. It almost echoes the words of Jesus Christ when He said: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . .” He spoke of a new twist on an Old Testament way of thinking. The words of Paul in Romans share striking similarities to those of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount.
Beyond the natural inclination to strike back, the Christian is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The spirit is to reign and rule in the life of the believer so much that the believer lives by the Spirit. The believer is to submit to the Spirit working in his or her life. By doing so, the believer submits to the will of God in his or her life.
Oppressive forces keep many in poverty and under persecution. The contemporary Christian band dc Talk wrote Jesus Freaks that shared stories of Christian martyrs and political prisoners throughout the world over the years since the early church was established. Amazingly, the common threads throughout these stories are the faith and ability of Christians to love their enemies while still living under persecution.
What should we learn to do as Christians? Turn the other cheek? Seek an eye for an eye? Bless others. Bless them by our words. Bless them by the way we conduct ourselves. Seek to live at peace with all men.
Bless them despite being belittled and bewildered. Bless them and go beyond payback. Bless them that they may come to know Christ. After all, isn’t that what happened with Paul? Isn’t that why he, of all of the people one could imagine, could say such things after having zealously persecuted the church and being pursued by the Jewish rulers?