How well do you take it when someone insults you? How do you react when you are falsely accused? Have you been persecuted for your faith? Have you considered being insulted and falsely accused as persecution?
I dare say most of us do not want to be insulted or falsely accused. Being insulted stings. It can be like a lightning bolt running through our system. Being falsely accused can hurt just as much, but in different way. It makes us feel as though we are not trusted.
When an insult or false accusation is attributed to our being a Christian, we are being persecuted. It doesn’t have to be directly related. It can happen in the work environment. It may happen at school. Perhaps it happens as we participate on a team. If it happens because the offending party knows we are Christian and they don’t like that about us, we are being persecuted.
We typically think of persecution as those Christians who are being beaten, ostracized, or even killed. We also think that only happens in other countries. Yet, it can happen in our own neighborhood. It can happen in our community. It can happen in our country.
Though it doesn’t necessarily make it feel any better when we are going through persecution, we have a reward awaiting us in the end. On the other hand, knowing there is a reward as we persevere through the persecution can be what helps us get through and remind us to continue to lean on Jesus.
Just before our passage today is what we call the Beatitudes. Jesus goes through a litany of blessings. Many of those blessings come from what we may call less than fortunate circumstances. He wraps up the list of blessings by stating there is a reward when we persevere.
He tells us to rejoice and be glad. We are to rejoice that we are going through the persecution because of Jesus. We also must lean on Jesus in order to be able to rejoice. This is a demonstration of our close connection with Him. We can only rejoice because of our relationship with Jesus.
I pray we all persevere through any persecution we may experience. I pray we accept the insults and false accusations along with the blessings. I pray each one of us grow closer to Jesus in preparation for persecution. Bear the persecution. Lean on Jesus. Grow closer to Jesus. Seek your reward.
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”