Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. – Matthew 5:11
People are hard to deal with. It doesn’t matter if they say they follow God or not . . . friction just seems inevitable. I have dealt with nothing to the degree my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has dealt with. Once, when He drove out an evil spirit, some people said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” (Matthew 9:34) Another time a woman with a sinful past was just adoring Him and worshipping at His feet. People just couldn’t help themselves, “If He were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman was touching Him.” (Luke 7:39) I imagine they loved going off and badmouthing Him, completely unaware that He was the very one who loved them the most and wanted the best for them.
With all my heart and every fiber of my being, I’m trying to be like my Lord. I want to work for Him. I want to preach for Him. I want to sing praise songs to Him. I take every reasonable opportunity to tell people about Him. I wish I was better at it, but I take as many opportunities as I can to pray for people. Yet, there always seems to be someone talking. Nine out of ten times, I can let it go. I feel like I let it go to the degree that I don’t even think about it or remember it. But still, there is that one time out of ten that it just will not leave. I can say “I forgive” or “Take this from me, Lord” a zillion times, but it just lingers.
Unfortunately, I know this is rooted in the ultimate sin . . . pride. I know I’m loaded down with it. “How dare they say that about me?” or “How dare they throw shade at me?” Sometimes I don’t even know who I think I am. What makes me think I’m so special that I would be above reproach? I’m sitting here asking God “How do I deal with this once and for all? How can I pass this test so that I quit having to take it?”
Matthew 5:11 is all that keeps coming to my mind.
Blessed. I’m blessed. But, how?
I guess for one, if people talking about me is my biggest problem, then I probably live in some first world country where my basic needs are more than met. Two, how else can I grow in the Lord? If they talked about Him, they are probably going to talk about me. The question is, can I take it? Can I keep focusing on the mission and commands He gave me and just keep looking straight ahead? Man . . . I’m trying. Lastly, in the grand scheme of things, what is being said isn’t that big of a deal at all. I have no clue what I would do under real persecution, though I like to think God will give me the strength precisely when I need it.
What worries me the most is that I see people who think they are being unfairly insulted and persecuted . . . yet, they bring all that activity upon themselves. They either treat people horribly, they are lazy, or they are just constantly looking to tear down others with their words to feel better about themselves. They are playing the dangerous game of comparison. I must examine my heart and ask the question, “Am I being the same way?” I am trying so hard to make sure I’m not being any of those three things. There have been times when I have deserved it . . . other times I haven’t. I’m begging God to fill me with His Spirit so that I may simply do what is right. If I can honestly say that I am living as simply as I can for the Lord and focusing on Him and His Word as much as I possibly can, then I can only come to one conclusion . . .
Lord, help me get this so I don’t have to keep taking this test. If I’m focused on You and the mission, I don’t have time to worry about those who speak evil of me. I’m more than aware of the pride that lives in me. It is the same pride that lived in Lucifer when he said, “I will be like the most High.” I want to be like You, too, but not by force . . . not because I’m anything special. I want to be like You because You have worked in my heart, mind, and life. I want to be more like You because I have been like a seed planted in the ground and I have grown to be more like You. Help me realize that I am blessed . . . even when it doesn’t feel blessed. Amen.