blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely hon my account. rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [matthew 5:11-12]
when others revile you…rejoice
if like me you’ve read this many times before, it may have lost its “edge of absurdity.” doesn’t this sound a bit absurd? when others revile me for doing what i know is right, i usually feel anxious and try to fix it. when i do better and trust that they’re only reviling me because of their sin, i still don’t feel right in the stomach until i get a few people’s reassurance that i did the right thing…which often leads to gossip.
the flesh is not capable of this, at least for a natural peace-maker/people pleaser like me. the only way for us to experience the kind of peace that allows us to rejoice when we’re reviled or persecuted is for the Holy Spirit to do a work on our heart. Lord, work on our hearts!
Jesus, teach us to endure under mocking, reviling, and persecution as you did. give us the peace that passes understanding and the courage to be obedient to you and your word, even when we think we know for sure we’ll be hated for it. forgive us for our reliance on others for our self-worth. teach us to find our value only in the gospel, which says that we are viewed by you according to the righteousness of your Son if we are saved; teach us to fear you more than man, and to love your praise more than the praise of man. we cannot do it on our own: please help!
~ stephen hall