11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
1 Peter 3:8-18
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
I find it so interesting that Jesus never teaches his followers anything that He doesn't experience on a personal level. I suppose that's why John says that Jesus is the "Word in Flesh" in Chapter 1 of his gospel story. Take a second to soak that in, though. Jesus embodies every single thing he teaches.
If you are anything like me, you might want to know what the exact blessings are when you are persecuted, insulted, slandered, or you suffer for doing what is right.
Although there are many things we could talk about. Let's talk about the fact that the Church has grown much more in the face of persecution than any other circumstance. I guess it's because people see that we really do believe Jesus is worth it all. In fact, Peter seems to assume that, when we handle suffering by rejoicing, people will want to know about our hope.
Think about that... the way you handle insults, suffering, or persecution reveals where your hope is. When you won't be dishonest about finances, it shows that your hope is in Christ - not the money you are making. When you step out of the way and elevate someone who hasn't been given the same opportunities as you, it reveals that your hope is not in moving up in the world, your hope is in Christ. See, hope is the very thing that enables us to do what is right - to live righteous lives.
Make no mistake - doing the right thing will cost you something in the flesh. There is a great cost to following the way of Christ. Our hope in Christ alone, however, teaches us that, although we may be dying in the flesh, we are more fully alive in the Spirit.
There is immense blessing in sharing something with someone you are in relationship with.
Soak this in:
When you are insulted, suffer, or endure the loss of something in the flesh, you share both suffering AND hope with your beloved Lord, Jesus Christ. That, my sisters and brothers, is something to "rejoice and be glad" about.