Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson
“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.”
Have you ever encountered a situation where you were pronounced guilty before a “trial” or without being able to even explain yourself? Let me share with you two incidents that Joyce and I have encountered across the years.
The first happened to me when I pastored a church in Oregon. When I came to the church I learned that a young woman cleaned the church each week. She did not attend the church, but that was agreeable with the church board.
After I had been there about a year I heard that this young lady had accepted a position at the local lumber mill. I called her to determine what her plans were as far as continuing the job at the church. As I spoke with her on the phone I heard her brother in the background say I had called to fire her! The family became incensed that I had “fired’ her by phone instead of meeting her face to face.
Even though I repeatedly explained that we did not want her to quit, but just were interested in her plans—in their minds I was the dirty guy who fired her!
The second incident involved Joyce. She worked for several years as the Legislative Assistant to a State Representative. Unfortunately, he passed away while in office and the political party named the temporary replacement. The family of the man who had passed away seemed to blame Joyce for the fact that the political party had not chosen the son of the deceased Representative.
Perhaps most people have encountered similar situations. The thing that hurts the most is that nothing can be said that will convince our accusers that we are not at fault for what has happened.
That brings us to the implication of today’s Scripture. HOW ARE WE TO REACT WHEN PEOPLE FALSELY ACCUSE US? First and foremost we need to examine our actions to determine if we have done anything to cause the problem.
In this portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He says that we are to rejoice! What?! How can we rejoice when we are innocent and are being falsely accused? The answer is simple—because Jesus says that is what we are to do!
The world is anxious to see believers who act differently in the face of adverse situations. To give sincere praise in the face of adversity and unprovoked attack is the most powerful witness we can give.
In Acts, chapters six and seven, we read about a faithful servant of the Lord named Stephen. Not only did he wait on tables to distribute food, but he was full of the Lord’s grace and power to perform mighty works.
In spite of his faithful service he was arrested and accused of blasphemy. Even in the face of severe consequences he proclaimed the pure Word of truth. He was stoned to death, but he never reacted with resentment toward those who were killing him.
What were the last recorded words of Stephen as he was being pounded to death by those wicked stones? “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” That, dear heart, is the kind of testimony this old sin-sick world is waiting to observe!
Blessings dear hearts. Draw near to God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing!
— Pastor Cecil
Insights on John – Chuck Swindoll
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Insights on John is part of the 15-volume Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary series. This newly revised and expanded edition draws on Gold Medallion Award–winner Chuck Swindoll’s 50 years of experience with studying and preaching God’s Word. His deep insight, signature easygoing style, and humor bring a warmth and practical accessibility not often found in commentaries.