Jan 302012
 

A curse in any shape or form is a dreadful thing. It may be fulminated from a great ecclesiastical institution, proceed in profanity from human lips full of unreasoning hate and fury, or be invoked in fearful solemnity upon the head and life of some flagrant transgressor and wrong doer. Whether based on right or wrong, is uttered by a church or flung forth by an individual, no one with proper sensibility cares to hear, or be the object of such an awful invocation. There is but one who has really the right to bring blighting, blasting and ruin upon nations and persons, and upon body and soul. It is the one whose mercy and love and justice and power are in exact proportions. They all harmonize. He is as kind as he is great, and pitiful as he is omnipotent.

The trouble with human judgment and punishment is that power leads to oppression, and prejudice and wrath to downright injustice and cold-blooded cruelty. Men have a way of only listening to one side of a case or history. They in their haste hang the accused prisoner and then ask the corpse if he has anything to say why he should not be put to death. We have long ago seen a significance in the words, “Power belongeth unto God,” because through all the ages, and in all countries, and in every walk of life men have shown their utter incapacity and inability for its proper wielding. We have yet to see a man who exercised the tremendous thing long, who was not spoiled by its conscious possession. So in regard to the manipulation and visitation of a curse, we have not yet beheld the individual or the body of people who could be trusted with the deadly formula; and yet all of us are compelled to note that they who are least fit to handle such a verbal anathema do most abound in such utterances.

It is simply frightful to listen to sinners cursing themselves and others…  What if God should answer their prayers?

It is simply frightful to listen to sinners cursing themselves and others. They ask God to damn their friends, damn the church, damn the world, damn their family and damn their own souls. What if God should answer their prayers? It is almost as terrible to read of the many curses by “bell, book, and candle” called down on nations and individuals by a great ecclesiastical hierarchy which thought it could ruin men both in time and eternity. What if it could have done what it wanted to do in that line? What hundreds of millions would be today writhing in agony in the pit, who are instead rejoicing in heaven! Perhaps it would be unspeakably startling to many of us to know the number of persons who curse us in their hearts, and secretly yearn, and impatiently wait, for our misfortunes, troubles, backsliding, sins, and ruin of body and soul.

Such a man came into David’s life. He appeared at the time of the greatest trials of the king of Israel. He drew near with hate in his heart and curses on his lips. He filled the air with his denunciations and imprecations. The sight of the angry, raving, white-haired man, as he walked along the side of the hill above David, and cursed the silent man of God, is one of the most vivid, impressive and significant pictures in the Old Testament. And yet it is a scene that is repeated in the lives of many of God’s people until this day. Such is the nature of the world we live in; such the different character of the people we meet; such the rebuking power of a good life; and such the violence of sin, that if a devoted Christian escaped without abuse of all kinds, it would be the miracle of the age.

A consecrated evangelist had a saloon keeper to curse him to his face for half an hour on the street of a Tennessee town. Another had a man to strike him until the blood gushed, while the attacker darkened the air with his oaths. Still another had an angry individual to ram his pistol in his mouth and then proceed to rail upon him. The most terrible tongue-lashing of profanity the author of this book ever received was on the streets of the city of New Orleans, and in a town in Nebraska. The latter lasted about ten minutes and the former over half an hour. Both were horrible beyond words to describe, and both came to the victim of the abuse after he was sanctified.

The Savior was cursed and reviled. So were his disciples. While John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was accused of having broken all of the ten commandments, and had oaths rained upon him as a daily experience.

Many are walking this strange road of persecution today. Women are abused by their husbands for their devotion to Christ and the church. Faithful followers of Christ are branded with the vilest of epithets. Holiness people are made to feel the ban and doom of a church interdict, a conference excommunication, or preachers’ meeting set of resolutions. Misinformed and prejudiced citizens of a town sneer at the full salvation tent meeting, while adjectives of the darkest and most profane character are freely used to voice and emphasize opinion as to the people and the religious movement itself.

To this great company and fraternity of the much maligned and vilified we offer several thoughts of consolation.

First, the curses and hate of men cannot possibly affect our standing and relation with God.

It is not what people say that causes God to change his countenance toward us. This is the way that men are influenced and act, but God, never. His altered bearing must and can only proceed from our actual life and conduct and moral condition. Words of men about us amount to nothing to him. It is our own words and deeds that he weighs and judges, and through them alone we get the divine sentence.

There are few persons indeed who can listen to or read a scurrilous attack upon another without feeling somewhat affected and biased by it. But to God it is equivalent to nothing. He looketh on the heart, and does not turn to gossip and bitter attacks for his opinion of men. He studies character, and not that changeable, variable thing called reputation. So it must have been quite an experience to John Wesley, and all like men, to read what his enemies said about him in England, making him the vilest of creatures, while God kept smiling upon and blessing his soul in spite of the slanderous book and pamphlet. Second, the curses of men are powerless to injure us in reality. If they could, where would be the world today; and the church; and, indeed, all of us?

We have only to read the Scripture to see that not one of the maledictions uttered by Shimei was allowed to fall on David. It was certainly a very blessed thing to feel and know that men saying we are vile and wicked does not make us so. Their curses do not cause us to be accursed. The Georgia Evangelist once said that the only man who could hurt Sam Jones was Sam Jones. There was a world of good sense and truth in the speech, and the fact voiced must have been full of Comfort and strength to that cordially hated and constantly abused man.

Third, the curses of men are turned into blessings by the power of God, if the victim will revile not again, but leave the whole matter in the hands of the judge of all the earth.
Hence it was that as Shimei went along the road abusing the King, David himself was silent. To his followers who wanted to run a sword through the insulter, he replied, let him curse on God will requite me a blessing for it.

Truly if the enemies of God’s people could see their black missiles of death turning into white-winged mercies; and their imprecations transformed into benedictions alighting upon the head and heart and life of those they sought to injure and destroy, they would certainly change their tactics and mode of warfare. Behold! cries Balak to Balaam, I sent you out to curse this people, and you have blessed them three times.

A fourth fact about curses is that they have a very strange and horrible way of returning to the curser.

Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.

There is an old saying that obtained its birth from the long observation of men, viz., that “curses, like chickens, come home to roost.” The Bible is clear about this in statement, and in illustration. It speaks of the digger of a pit falling into it himself, while the stone that is rolled to injure another crushes the one who started it. It shows David in prosperity and power, and then dying in peace, while Shimei, his attacker, was a prisoner in his own house, for years, and finally met a violent death. Elisha was cursed by forty young people but they were torn and slain while he remained unhurt. They met a fearful judgment, while the man they assailed lived to a good old age, blessed many thousands, died in peace and triumph, and swept upward to everlasting glory and reward.

Wesley survived the abuse of Bell and Owens, who themselves backslided and went to ruin. The mayor in Texas who attacked and vilified the Georgia preacher sank into shame, oblivion, and then the grave years ago. The person who cursed the Evangelist in Tennessee, lost his business and money in a year’s time, and in eighteen months begged for crusts of bread in the back streets and alleys of his own town.

Other men of God whom we know and who have been shamefully treated by infuriated individuals are happy and useful today in the service of Heaven, while the bodies of their attackers are in the grave, and their memory is rotting from the face of the earth.
Both the Bible and Life agree in showing that it is a perilous thing to touch God’s anointed, and to do his prophets harm. The Lord has a strange and dreadful way of taking up for his servants.

By B. Carradin

Source: Ages V7

 Posted by on 01/30/2012 Think on These Things  Add comments