Blessed are you when they revile you
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matthew 5:10,11). Throughout the ages, Christians suffered and were reviled for Christ’s sake. And the Lord warned those who would be His followers that they would be “hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22). But He assured them that whoever “loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). Only when self is buried in blessing others does a person find the true purpose of his existence.
The apostles Paul gladly put into practice the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. And he said, “Being reviled, we bless” (1 Corinthians 4:12). When he was ill-treated, he did not retaliate, but suffered patiently. Not only did he not seek revenge, but he returned good for evil (Acts 27:33–36). The faithful who truly love their Lord have rejoiced at being “counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 2:19–23; 3:14; 4:14). Christians must expect to “suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).
Vengeance belongs to God
A follower of Christ is taught to leave revenge to the Almighty (Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalms 94:1, 4–7, 21–23; Romans 12:19–21). For the Lord at the right time will vindicate and defend him before his enemies (Jeremiah 50:34). A person who is filled with thoughts of revenge is giving a place for the devil to fill him with anger and hatred. Instead, he should allow for the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, and long-suffering) to grow in his mind (Galatians 5:22).
The gift of love
It is God who gives the believer the ability to love those that revile him by pouring His love into his heart. Once the believer makes the decision to love, God performs the miracle. “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). Through this gift, the Christian can do what was previously impossible for him to do – forgive and love his enemies. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) that is, for the person who is willing to allow God to control his mind (Philippians 4:13).
There are situations in which it is not wrong to have a feeling of righteous indignation. However, it should be made clear that such feelings are allowed only when a Christian sees that the Lord is dishonored, and His service being disgraced. Other than that, the natural, unconverted heart must be kept crucified and never permitted to retaliate.
The test of Christianity
Love lived out in the life of the Christian is the greatest proof of the sincerity of one’s Christian experience (Isaiah 58:6–8; Matthew 25:34–40). It is the ultimate test of discipleship (1 John 4:20). For it reveals that the believer is in harmony with God. It is proof that the Holy Spirit is controlling the heart (Galatians 5:22). Such a character is opposed to worldly behavior, which teaches quick revenge for wrongs done by others (Matthew 5:38–42).
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).
In His service,
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