Scripture Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a
Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
I only remember my mother cursing one time. To this day, I do not remember to whom she was referring. She was reading a letter she had just received from some of her family in Arkansas. I may not have known the person but she said, “God damn him.” It was a prayer and she meant it. In my family, no one took the Lord’s name in vain. I think our society uses the word “curse” rather loosely, usually describing any kind of off colored slang. It means to ask a deity to bring evil down onto someone*.
I confess I do not want to consider God cursing anyone. I know Jesus cursed a fig tree (Mark 11:12-25) which has always been beyond my understanding even though I have read several attempted explanations by theologians I respect. There are 200 cursing usages in the NRSV Bible. Perhaps my problem is that the act of cursing suggest that God gives up on some people. I don’t like to think that either. I do know there are times when walking away from someone who will not help themselves is necessary, but that is not the same as calling on God to bring evil onto someone. In today’s scripture, Abram doesn’t even have to call on God. God seems to volunteer to initiate cursing as situations indicate. Is it perhaps God’s way of saying, “I’ve got your back, no matter what?” I could see God doing that.
I probably need to understand my own motivations causing my questioning of the use of curses in the Bible. How does my apparent preconceived perception of God impact my own relationship with God? We filter most things following preset patterns. It is a good idea to challenge our filters to make sure they remain valid.
Prayer: God of Grace, cleanse my filters so that I can see you more clearly. Amen.