“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on 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
There are few worse feelings in life than when someone says, “Hey, did you hear what ‘so and so’ said about you?” I want to be clear, rarely ever is that a good thing. I would love it if the follow-up sentence to that was, “Yeah, they are just telling everyone how amazing of a person you are!” Normally it is quite the opposite, normally that next sentence is filled with how someone has been talking bad about you behind your back. It is even more hurtful when that slander is being directed towards you because of your faith.
We have this false idea that if we are following after the things of Christ that people are going to love us and get along with us. If you thought that, then read the verse above, I am sure it hit you like a ton of bricks. Christ said people are going to revile us, persecute us, and utter all kinds of evil against us on His account. We are currently living in very turbulent times, with the direction of our culture seemingly getting more hostile towards Christians and the truth that we proclaim. I constantly see people surprised by this. These believers are more passionate about protecting themselves and others from encountering these things than they are about actually sharing the truths of Christ.
This verse does not instruct us to complain about the evil that may come our way. It does not instruct us to seek out revenge for the injustices that may be done for us. It does not tell us to hide from the world so that we may be protected. It tells us to rejoice and be glad. Let me highlight this again so we do not miss it – Rejoice and be glad when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely.
This is what Scripture is teaching us, and it says that we are blessed when this happens. We are blessed because it means that we are truly living a life for Christ if this is happening to us. We are in good company as well, Scripture says that they also persecuted the prophets who were before us. What an honor to even be considered in the same sentence as the biblical prophets that Jesus is talking about here. If we are followers of Christ, there will be a deep-rooted joy in who Christ is, but that does not protect us from encountering persecution. These things in Matthew 5:11-12 will happen to us, but if our faith is in Christ alone, we will persevere and His name will be made great through our adversity.