The world is no friend of the Christian. Nevertheless, we would do well to keep our enemy’s meanness, belligerence, hatefulness, and spite in perspective as follows:
Blessed are my enemies, for they tell me the truth when my friends flatter me.
Blessed are my enemies, for they prevent all men speaking well of me.
Blessed are my enemies, for they tell me what they don’t like in me, rather than the things they do like.
Blessed are my enemies, for they provide an object of love outside the small circle of my selfishness.
Blessed are my enemies, for they rub off the artificial varnish and make me see my natural complexion.
Blessed are my enemies, for their mirror of biting sarcasm and scathing rebuke reveals me to myself. — Unknown Author
I would like to add another beatitude: blessed are the Christian’s enemies, for their antagonism will either draw him closer to Christ or drive him away from Him so that he can no longer stand at a point of indecision.
The name “Christian” has always been a label of derision. In the first century A.D., Christians endured mockery, abuse, and the cruelest forms of persecution for the sake of their name. Even today, Christians experience ostracism and mistreatment for their faith. But if we refuse to compromise under the pressure, the reproach we bear can have a purifying effect on us. It can test the strength of our commitment to Christ, refine our motives, deepen our faith in God’s provision and protection, afford us opportunities to witness, and challenge us to further live out our convictions. The burden is actually a blessing in disguise.
Once endured, persecution is the means by which a faithful Christian’s name, formerly a label of derision, becomes his badge of honor. Never underestimate its purifying power. Determine for yourself that when you face persecution for bearing the name of Christ, you will dare to be faithful to your Savior.
Let us therefore become imitators of His endurance; and if we should suffer for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him. For He gave this example to us in His own person, and we believed this. — Polycarp
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.