“…bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28 (NIV)
I’ve gotten in the habit in the last six months or so to tell people either through email correspondence or in person, “Blessings to you.” God also laid it on my heart to regularly come before Him and ask for His blessings for both my bosses and their families. I have to admit, when I first starting uttering those words, I didn’t realize the magnitude of what I was saying. I knew I wanted good for those people, but I didn’t realize the power that is released when a person prays “blessings” over someone else.
God slowly started showing me what it really means to “pray blessings” over someone and it’s not something that should be taken lightly but it is something that should be given freely. When we pray blessings over someone, we are in essence asking God to heap blessings into that person’s life. What a wonderful thing to say and spread throughout your family and friendships.
God even goes so far as to ask us to pray blessings over our enemies. What?!? you ask. But yes, God wants us to pray blessings over those we have issues with. Instead of taking time to plot revenge, replay how we’ve been hurt multiple times a day or try and get others to take our side, God is clear in Luke 6:28 (NIV), “…bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
I know for me, when I realized that was what God was asking of me, I decided that I better obey. I first had to identify who my enemies were. Like everyone else, I had my own list. God first brought to mind someone from twenty years ago. I thought I had sufficiently forgotten about this person, but God showed me I hadn’t truly forgiven or forgotten. Then He reminded me of someone else…someone who hurt another I loved more than myself and continued to inflict pain. It was easier to forget about that person than to actively ask God for blessings while he or she continues to hurt those I love. But that’s not God’s way, is it? He doesn’t ask me to judge or punish others – that’s His job. He asks me to get out of the way so He can deal with their hearts – in His terms, His time.
I started with the 20+ year old relationship. More time had passed and the feelings weren’t quite so raw. The first few times I had to choke out the words, “Lord, please bless _____” when my feelings didn’t match my words. They were spoken in obedience, not love. But slowly, the more I did it, the more I realized He was working in my life. I realized I really did want blessings, not curses for that person, and added another and another and another. Each time, through time, my feelings would begin to match my words. I may still not desire a relationship with those people (and God never said I had to), but I can honestly say I don’t wish them harm and do indeed ask God’s blessings for them.
You see, I’m no different than anyone else. Just as others have hurt me, I’ve hurt others. As a result of God showing me what it truly means to ask for blessings for someone else’s life, when I say, “Blessings to you” to family or a friend, I truly mean that I wish God’s blessings to surround you. And when I get the unexpected gift of being wished blessings, I realize that prayer has been answered because I am indeed incredibly blessed…in so many ways.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone today. May you feel the peace and joy of God throughout the day no matter how you celebrate and with whom.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015