for by faith - my daily journal

What does “bless their hearts” mean?

Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse.”

As much as the world denies God, it certainly uses, or should I say often misuses scripture a lot.

Take Romans 12:14 which commands us to “bless those who persecute you…” and Matthew 5:44, which states “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

Christ, in Luke 23:34 prays “Father, forgive them, for they do not know…”


Theoretically, a blessing is a prayer for God’s favor and protection. Certainly, Christ was praying for the forgiveness of the very ones who were crucifying Him.


The command to “bless” is also followed up with another command in Romans to not revenge evil. In verse 19 it states “leave room for the wrath of God. For it is written, ‘Vengence is mine, I will repay…'”


So how does this all fit together?

Quite simply, believers are to love their neighbor, and praying for a blessing is putting the event into a spiritual setting.

Remember Ephesians 6:12 explains “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual forces of wickedness…”


God uses these situations to further his providential plans. This is why He states, vengeance is mine.

He is working out His purposes from the events of both good and evil people. Our vengeance could easily temporarily short circuit His plan.


Finally, we are commanded in Romans 12:14 to “bless, and do not curse.” One commentary declared, “do not curse the rascals.”

This places the event in somewhat of a comical situation.

Remember, the world hates you (John 15:18-25).

Should you feel bad about that?

No! Our true perspective is that the world also hated God and He overcomes the world. We should pray for the world and its salvation, knowing that we will also overcome it.


The misuse of the “bless those” command, and I only offer this as speculation as to its origin, is illustrated below:

“Bless your heart” really means “you’re sweet, but intelligence is not your strong suit.”

“Well, isnt’ that nice” really means “it’s hard to respond to what you’ve said since I really don’t care.”

“Thanks for sharing” really means “I don’t care but thanks for thinking I do.”

“Aren’t you a peach” really means “You’ve just ticked me off and since I can’t use cuss words, peach will have to do.”

“I’ll pray for you” really means “your life choices have no viable solutions, so l’m going to offer it up to God.”

“I couldn’t pull that off, but look at you.” reall means “you look ridiculous, how could you possibly dress that way.”


Of course, this is all tongue in cheek, but the contrast to Christ praying for those who crucified Him and those who commonly state “well bless your heart” could not be more further apart.

Pray for your enemies knowing that our battle is against Satan, not flesh and bones.

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"It wasn't a potential atonement actuated by the sinner, it was an actual atonement initiated by the savior."

John MacArthur

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