“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.” Mathew 5:11-12
I have a confession to make; I have trouble rejoicing when people insult me, persecute me, or make false statements about me, especially when aimed at my service to my Lord and his people. I know this is not what you would expect a pastor to say, but this is the reality for pretty much every pastor I know. Why? When people lash out at a message we have given up our lives for, we can’t help but take it personally. But more importantly, it shows you that pastors are human too! I know this might shock some of you.
It has been my experience that there are people, including a handful of pastors, who enjoy being insulted, persecuted, and abused. It is almost like they thrive on controversy, and often these are attention seekers who even welcome negative attention. To me, there is something a little off in these people. But I digress.
Back to Jesus. In today’s passage, I don’t think Jesus wants his disciples to be hurt. In this famous section from the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord is preparing us for the reality that the message we carry is counter-cultural, and a broken and sinful world will likely lash out at the messengers. Why? Because, as the song says:
Let us rejoice today that we have been blessed and chosen to deliver a message of love to a world that will likely lash out at us. Like a shot, this may sting for a bit, but in the end it will be worth it!