October 27, 2013

When Men Hate You – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.” (Luke 6:22)

The word translated “blessed” (makarios) is defined:

“… fortunate or happy because of circumstances,…privileged…” BDAG

Is this how you feel when you are persecuted because you are acting like a Christian? “How fortunate I am.” This reaction would be considered absolutely bizarre to the worldly minded, focused on success in this life only.

Most Christians are extremely reluctant to do anything which might make them less popular with their peers, let alone anything which might lead to social ostracism or even physical suffering. Yet Jesus said that this can bring true happiness.

He did not say that this blessing comes through suffering for foolishness’ sake, or for carelessness’ sake, or for sinfulness’ sake. Rather, He said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matthew 5:10).

The principle is amplified by Peter:

“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” (I Peter 4:14-16).

It hurts, of course, when friends “ostracize you…as evil,” when you are sincerely seeking to do right and to honor God. This was the experience of the blind man to whom Jesus gave sight. The religious authorities responded to his testimony with:

“You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.” (John 9:34).

Nevertheless, he now could see! He could see the physical world and he could see much more. He could see the blindness of his “teachers.” Would it be more appropriate for him to be “down in the dumps” or rejoice?

Likewise, the religious leaders at Pisidian Antioch “instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.” One might imagine that their new converts would be devastated, yet we read, “And the disciples were continually  filled with joy…” (Acts 13:50, 52).

The mystery that magically transforms this apparently bizarre conduct into infinitely reasonable, divinely wise conduct is the realization this present life is like a vapor that will soon be gone (James 4:14) and that faithfulness in this life procures for us an eternal life of unimaginable glory.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 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.” (II Corinthians 4:18)

For many years we have enjoyed protection from religious persecution in this country (a rare privilege, almost unique in the history of mankind).  Unfortunately, we see ominous signs that our protection is eroding. We see death and deprivation imposed on Christians today in many countries—soon perhaps in America. If so, may the Lord enable us to honor His name in suffering without compromise and with JOY.

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” (I Peter 2:21).

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

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