“What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.”
– Luke 6:22-23 NLT
Earlier this week a friend shared with me about some conflict she was having at work. Apparently one of her co-workers felt uncomfortable because she and a few other co-workers have crosses hanging on their office walls. My friend was quite upset because she thought that she might be soon told to take the cross down.
To be fair, this is an extremely mild version of persecution. Brothers and sisters in other parts of the world regularly face beatings, confiscation of property, torture, and death for their faith in Christ. But the truth remains, authentic faith always encounters aggressive force.
That’s why Jesus says be happy! When someone pushes against your faith it shows your faith is real, active, and alive. Push-back is the world’s way of showing that we are on-track.
But remember, victory over aggressive force is never by way of aggressive force. Jesus follows his “be happy” with “be good.” Treat your enemies like friends. They may see us as an enemy, but we are never to see them through that lens.