“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 5:11-12
These verses in Matthew are the culmination of the beatitudes that I’ve shared with you the past week. The verses above are basically an extension on what Jesus had said earlier but here in verses 11 and 12 He elaborates on persecution. Persecution can take many forms ranging from a mere insult to fearing for your life. The evil foe has found multiple ways to try to discourage the church on earth but unfortunately those being persecuted fail to realize that the more the church is persecuted, the more it grows.
Several years ago while in Haiti with a Trinity/HOPE mission team, I was asked by a Haitian pastor in the company of witnesses to bring a request to a mission society in North America. I did, and the Haitian pastor later recanted the request when he feared that he would lose support in Haiti and insisted that he had never asked this request and called me a liar. Another Haitian pastor and a North American pastor joined in the accusation and prepared for a battle with me.
Rather than fight the accusations, I chose to just turn the other cheek and walk away. In our country, there is no legal way that we can be sued or fined for being Christians; although there are those being hassled for showing that they are. We are all sinful human beings, and there is a saying that sums up what this world may think about your words and actions, “the last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list.”
The evil foe wants nothing more than to discredit the ministry of Trinity/HOPE and snatch the spoonful of rice and beans from the hand of the child at the Lutheran school in Ouanaminthe shown in the attached photo. There are people who will say it is more important to use the funds to purchase trucks, buildings and fund salaries for church workers in Haiti. Rice and beans or blocks and mortar; walking and sharing the love of Christ with the lost or riding in a fancy truck. Continually ask yourself “is this God pleasing?”
We sinners should rejoice at persecution and, someday, we will receive our reward for it and meet this child in Ouanaminthe in Heaven one day. Thank you for staying the course and doing His work no matter what the world tells you.
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay