This verse is part of a larger section of the book of Romans in which the Apostle Paul urges Christians to live out their faith in practical ways, by offering their bodies as living sacrifices to God and by using their spiritual gifts to serve one another.
In this particular verse, Paul encourages Christians to respond to those who persecute them with blessings rather than curses. This teaching is based on Jesus' own words in the Sermon on the Mount, where he said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
By blessing those who persecute them, Christians demonstrate the love and grace of God to others, and they overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
In the preceding verses of Romans 12, Paul instructs Christians to live in harmony with one another, to not think of themselves more highly than they ought to, and to use their gifts to serve the body of Christ. He then goes on to describe how Christians should respond to those who mistreat them, saying:
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." (Romans 12:14-16)
In this passage, Paul is calling Christians to a radical form of love that goes beyond what is expected in the world. When someone persecutes us, our natural instinct may be to retaliate or to curse them, but Paul urges us to respond in a way that reflects the love of Christ. By blessing those who persecute us, we demonstrate that we are not overcome by evil, but are instead overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21).
It's worth noting that the term "bless" in this verse does not necessarily mean to say something like "God bless you" to someone who is mistreating us. Rather, it means to speak well of them, to wish them well, and to pray for their well-being. By doing so, we demonstrate that we are not seeking revenge or harboring bitterness, but are instead entrusting our cause to God and leaving room for His justice (Romans 12:19).
In summary, Romans 12:14 is a call for Christians to respond to persecution and mistreatment with love, blessing, and prayer. By doing so, we demonstrate the love and grace of God to others, and we overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:14. Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don’t curse.