Being so close to Mexico, it is not unusual in our area of California to include the piñata at children’s parties. Our oldest daughter celebrated her seventh birthday whacking one open with her friends. The colorful, papier-mâché-made figure is filled with candy and hung on a string. The children take turns putting on the blindfold and hitting the piñata with a stick until it at last opens and the sweets pour out. That is the signal to scramble for those candies and stuff mouths and pockets!
I was surprised to learn that the piñata originally represented temptation in the Mexican Catholic Church! It has long lost its symbolic roots but it did make me think of today’s verse. The natural reaction to being hit or persecuted is cursing, bitterness, and the desire for revenge. Paul’s words to the Romans were contrary to what a normal response would be! Instead of responding in anger, we are to respond sweetly with blessing, wanting the good of the other person. Blessing others when we are wronged makes us not only sweet, but peaceful.
If I am able to respond this way to any attack, then I can enjoy living in harmony (verse 16) and can leave to the Lord the business of revenge (verse 19). As a believer, I am to overcome evil with good (verse 21). It seems an impossible standard. But oh how thankful I am that Jesus did not respond to His persecutors with cursing. His forgiveness meant taking on the pain of His attackers and not responding in kind. He is my example and the source of my strength to bless and not curse.
Lord, whatever mockery or opposition I face, may my response be like Yours.