Yes, Rejoice and be Glad
Tomorrow begins TODAY - Dr. Harold J. Sala () - August 11, 2002 - 12:00am
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." – Matthew 5:10

The person who stands for nothing will fall for anything, so goes conventional wisdom. But the person who does stand for something–whether it is the refusal to cover for fellow employees who cheat on their time cards, or having the conviction to abide by what he or she believes is right–that person will soon discover that not everybody appreciates that commitment to decency. His colleagues squirm to have such a person in their midst. It’s true that people do love darkness rather than good because their deeds are evil.

When Jesus taught the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount, He addressed this issue. He said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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 6:10-12).

How should you respond when you become a target of hostility or persecution for doing right? The following guidelines will help.

Guideline #1. Pray for your enemies.
That’s the advice that Jesus gave His disciples. Strangely enough, the fact that some may persecute or ridicule the one who does right is often a sign of the conviction which is the result of God’s working in their lives. Do you remember that the arch-enemy of the Early Church–Saul of Tarsus –ended up being the Apostle Paul?

Guideline #2: Realize that Satan is using those who oppose you.
At the same time, be on your guard. Don’t let the enemy get to you through his troops. Go back to passages such as Ephesians 6, which tell you how to oppose the enemy while remaining strong and true.

Guideline #3: Remember that nothing is forever.
When my brother asked to place Gideon Bibles in a school, the principal sternly told him, "Over my dead body" and turned him away. Two years later, the man died of a heart attack. My brother and his colleagues quietly went back and asked permission from the new principal who welcomed them and thanked them for their efforts.

Guideline #4: Rejoice and be glad.
Rather than thank God for the persecution, thank Him that His grace is sufficient for your need and that He will sustain you and strengthen you during this difficult time.

No one welcomes hostility or persecution for doing right, but nonetheless, the fact endures, you are blessed and accounted worthy of the kingdom of heaven. Never forget that God has His payday someday–for you and for those who persecute you. Far better to be on the side that loses the skirmish but will win the war than to be on the side of those who win the skirmish but will lose the war. Yes, blessed are you!

Resource Reading: Luke 6:27-49

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