We talked about how to love, now Paul turns to whom to love. If it didn’t seem like an battle that we couldn’t accomplish on our own strength before, here come the details of the mission brief: “Bless those who persecute you.”
Persecution is persistent infliction of hostility and ill-treatment. Paul doesn’t start with those who sometimes annoy you, his 5 word sentence is to bless those who stand not only in opposition to you but who are on the attack against you. Your direct enemies. Paul picks this up later in the chapter, so let’s put it on a parking lot for now and focus on the other parts of this paragraph.
He encourages us to be aware of the harmonies of life. As the book of Ecclesiastics notes, there are seasons in life, just as there are seasons in the year. Our role, as part of the body of Christ, is to be in harmony with those seasons with other believers. When others are rejoicing, we are to rejoice, when they mourn, we are to mourn. We are to be humble servants not conceited and judgmental.
Note that to do this we must serve as part of the body of Christ. We are not to sit on the sidelines as others rejoice or mourn, we are supposed to be active with them. Serving is not a talent or spiritual gift, it is part of worship and an expectation of all believers.
first through prayer and the strength and will of the Holy Spirit. By not taking a stand over things of this world (e.g., money) but letting go.
To live in harmony with others, rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, don’t be proud but be willing to associate with those in low position and do not be conceited. To honor and respect those working hard and menial jobs, greet them by name and thank them for their service.
Pride is placing me above you – it does not yield harmony or show respect of love.
I have been helped the most by those who have come along side and prayed with and for me.