Sunday – August 28, 2022
Word On Worship – Sunday – August 28, 2022
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
What do persecution, sympathy and humility have in common? Most of us in America have not experienced anything comparable to the persecution that our brothers and sisters in other countries are facing. In many other countries, numerous Christians have been imprisoned, killed or forced to leave their homes and flee for their lives. Neither is it easy to weep with those who weep, yet the mercies of God call us to sympathize with others in both their joys and their sorrows. Not thinking more highly of ourselves, humility, is a theme that comes up again and again in the Scriptures simply because it is such a difficult mindset to maintain.
So are these just random thoughts that Paul throws out without any connection with each other to fill space? As Paul would say, “May it never be!” (Romans 6:1). There are some essential connecting factors. For one thing, each of these commands reflects transformed attitudes. Back in 12:2, Paul said, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul is showing what this transformed, renewed mind looks like. It blesses enemies who have persecuted them, it sympathizes with others in their joys and sorrows and it demonstrates genuine humility.
Another connection between these three seemingly disjointed verses is they all are rooted in selflessness or self-denial. We can only bless our persecutors and not curse them if we are more concerned about their eternal welfare than we are about our suffering. We can only rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep if our focus is off ourselves and on their situation. We can only be of the same mind with one another and not be haughty or wise in our own estimation if our eyes are on the Lord and others, not on ourselves. Selflessness is the thread that ties all three verses together.
How transformed are your attitudes? Are you blessing those who have wronged you? Are you sympathizing with others in their joys and sorrows? Are you practicing humility through true Christian unity, through being quick to take on lowly jobs or to befriend people of no earthly status, and through not being impressed with your own wisdom? If you need to grow in any of these, go often to the foot of the cross, where Christ humbled Himself for your sake. There you will find the grace and mercy you need to grow.