Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10
In Exodus God refers to himself as a warrior and often times he leads us into battle to teach us to fight the good fight of faith with His word as our weapon and shield. I found myself being persecuted by someone that I cared very much for. At one time this person believed 100% in me and my ministry. Now I found myself constantly being on the receiving end of hostility, criticisim and accused of lying. I was having a conversation with this person and they admitted that they had anger for me for years and when I asked why….they replied ‘because you are not everything that you can be’. I felt God whisper to me that the anger is not about me, but really the anger is within themselves that they are not living up to everything they could be. During another conversation, this person called me a hypocrite and God lovingly led me to his word where Jesus actually calls the accuser the real hypocrite. God kept validating to me that the person’s issue was really with themself and not me. One day I was on a very popular business networking site and I saw this person had actually lied about their work history……wow is this the same person that told me they never lie??? Even though their issue was being directed at me, I was personalizing it and it made me feel really bad about myself. If we read in the Gospels, we see that Satan comes to take the word in Mark 4 ‘and they had no firm root in themselves, when affliction or persecution comes because of the word, they fall away’. That is exactly what was happening to me, there was an issue with my root, which is my life or confidence in God and who He says that I am and the persecution served to have me turn away from God and look at myself. In some translations the word offended is used and in the greek that is skandolizo which is where we get the word snare from. Satan’s goal is to trap or to snare you, it immediately affects your emotions to provoke you into action. That is why it is so very important not receive what others say about you. Our reaction is to take matters in our own hand and defend ourselves and point out the hypocritical faults in others. If you choose to take matters upon yourself, you tie the hands of God and basically operate in pride and say that His word is not true and you cannot expect to receive peace and justice. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I received instruction from the Lord to bless my enemy and forgive a debt that was owed to me and the person did not even thank me! That was the hardest thing I could have done! The Lord says in Isaiah that His ways are higher than our ways. My act of obedience will return a reward to me when I need it most. If you find yourself where you have or are being persecuted, bless your enemy and don’t say another negative thing about that person because God says that you are blessed. Being persecuted or accused when you are innocent is difficult, but being rooted deeply in God’s word will give you confidence and peace and THAT is the very thing that others around you need desperately and will seek after.