INSULT AND INJURY
“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.” — Matthew 5:11-12
We bear inherent risks when we seek to please our Heavenly Father. First of all, pleasing Him will inevitably run us amok with those whom we would rather please–our human colleagues on earth. How many times has God called us to things that look strange to worldly observers?
If God asks me to take extra time with Him some morning and I do, I may be late for work. In my job I am allowed such flexibility, but those around me may think I’m lazy. Then they might talk about me. Indeed, they may discredit me, make fun of me, and insult my reputation for what appears to be a lack of work ethic, but is really “because of Jesus.” In my flesh I greatly fear these things.
How subtle is the temptation from the adversary to worry about pleasing people, even when such an act conflicts with pleasing the one “to whom we must give an account.” He is the only one we need to concern ourselves with pleasing.
If there is “persecution,” make sure it’s “because of Jesus,” and not because of some human whim or act of pride. We know in our hearts whether our stand is for him or for ourselves. And the adversary would love to trip us up here also.
But Jesus takes it to a deeper level in these, his beatitudes. In the face of opposition, He says, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Rejoice and be glad? How can we? We have been reviled, slandered, rejected by people who can at times feel more real than things unseen.
Why not respond with holy retribution? Because the only One who deserved to respond in such a way chose not to. He chose to love. He chose to forgive. He chose to rejoice in the victory of his death and resurrection. And to leave justice to the only one deserving of carrying out justice: our Holy Father.
Only when these things are brought into perspective can we live with divine perspective, of which the Holy Spirit reminds us constantly. “For the Lord raises up those who are bowed down.”
What lie are you most concerned with others believing about you?
What pieces of your identity do you need to release in order to follow God’s promptings?
Whose approval means the most to you?
© Revolworks 2018