“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. ” Matthew 5:11
Billy Graham once said that he was troubled by James 4:4, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” Graham was respected the world over and welcomed into the confidence of kings and presidents. The world seemed to love him and was very much his “friend”. He could not imagine the world we live in today where being known as a Christian is to be considered, at best irrelevant, but often an object of ridicule and suspicion. How our country has changed in recent decades. We routinely hear reports from institutions in academia, politics, and media of Christians being openly harassed. Globally, persecution of Christians has reached its highest extent ever recorded in modern times. One wonders if some would have us return to the days of ancient Rome, where the cost of following Jesus was paid with one’s life.
Many of the institutions of our society seem to be arrayed against Christian values and traditions. The days of Christians receiving widespread respect and deference are probably gone forever.
We may find this troubling, but our Lord said it is actually a blessing when people insult us, persecute us, or say false things against us for being His followers. Our great reward for all these troubles will be found in heaven, He said. He did not say that we should quietly blend into the background, being careful not to make waves or offer any resistance while a godless culture takes over every part of our society. He said instead, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:11-16
Lord, let us not give in to fear or cowardice, but let us shine the light of your Word and your Truth brightly without apology to a world increasingly hostile to You. Let us know what and why we believe, and know Who stands for us in eternity, and let us not hesitate to stand strong for You.