“Blessed are ye,
when men shall revile you and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely,
for my sake.”
“How can you possibly say, ‘God is a God of love?’” So began the reproach. He used his words in an effort to hurt and try to ease his own guilt and pain.
Another is accused of being self-righteous for speaking truth in love that spoke too closely to the offended’s heart. The accused had no idea of the other’s situation.
One is charged falsely of a crime against the church.
These examples happen all too often and not just at the hand of the world. In fact, we should expect such conduct from those standing in opposition to the Lord. Whether from the worldly or those among the body of Christ, what should be the response and why?
Let’s look at the why first.
There is reward:
“Blessed are ye…”
“for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
“for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:
on their part he is evil spoken of,
but on your part he is glorified.”
- You receive God’s highest good for you now and forever.
- You receive a great reward in heaven – a prophets reward.
- You receive praise from the Father for you are bringing him glory.
These things are why in persecution we can –
“Rejoice and be exceeding glad…”Matthew 5:12a
I know. It’s easier said than done. But Jesus tells us our response and shows us.
“But I say unto you,
- Love your enemies,
- bless them that curse you,
- do good to them that hate you,
- and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
“For even hereunto were ye called:
- because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example,
- that ye should follow his steps:
- Who did no sin,
- neither was guile found in his mouth:
- Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again:
- when he suffered, he threatened not;
- but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” 1 Peter 2:21-23
“Then said Jesus,
Father, forgive them;
for they know not what they do…”
Imagine with me for a moment. If in the context of being reproached, accused or charged falsely, the ranting ceased for a moment. In that moment you lock eyes with your accuser and pray God’s blessing on the person. You ask God to show you how to extend his goodness in a practical way. What do you imagine the next scene to be?
However the scenario might play out, Jesus gave us an example to follow. He could do it for he kept his eyes on the joy to come. We can do it for he lives in us. We do it for the love he has shown us and the glory that waits.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.”
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us
a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal;
but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Christ has left us an example and gives us strength to follow him.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13
Jesus mentions two blessings for the persecuted – the kingdom of heaven is theirs where a greater reward waits for them. Why do you think they have a blessing times two? Could it be their greater need? Or maybe it’s their identification with the suffering of their Lord and enduring until the end? What do you think?
Whatever the reason, remember if you are a follower of Christ you are blessed of the Father.
“who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places in Christ;”