** Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. ** Psalm 34:21
Afflictions, pain, brokenness, and persecution are all recurring trials for a Christian. Jesus told his disciples that **…in this world (we) shall have tribulation.**
**Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. ** are the encouraging words from Lamentations 3:45
God’s people are not popular. Not then. Not now.
That can be tough to swallow.
As children, we want to play and have fun with everyone. As teens, we battle daily to be accepted and be popular. As young adults, we strive to make something of ourselves and hope for recognition. As mature adults, we accept that people are people and no one is truly popular. Popularity is an illusion.
But none of us like to be insulted, criticized, mocked, rejected, ignored, hated or reviled. It goes against our nature. Human or spiritual. We ask ourselves, ‘why can’t we all just get along?’
If we look at this dilemma through the Lord’s eyes, we see that He wants us to love, bless, do good to and to pray for our enemies. (Matthew 5) Those that give us a hard time in this life.
Paul tells us in Romans 12, ** If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. **
I have to be honest that it is easier to say, or write, than it is to do.
The thing is that we are called to peace. (1 Cor 7) We are not supposed to be the ones that start a fight or feed one. Blessed are the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart. Blessed are the peacemakers.
**Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake….for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. **
The Spirit of Christ is meekness. Humility. Surrender. Yielding.
Christ COULD have fought back and NOT been crucified. He COULD have said ‘no, I am not going to let them treat me this way. ‘ But He didn’t.
He is our example. He did what He did and didn’t do what He didn’t do to show us how to respond to contrary opinions, mockings, criticisms, and insults, even beatings.
He was teaching us how to look at the big picture. How to look at the end game. The final chapter.
He could see beyond the cross and to the resurrection. He could see beyond the discomfort and pain and rejection to the new birth He would be able to offer all of us and to His own glorification. He took his eyes off of Himself and looked to the rest of us.
He could also see how things were going to end for the persecutors, the mockers, the insulters. He knew, just like we know, because He and we read/ or read (past tense) the same Psalms…
Those that ** hate the righteous shall be desolate. **
Desolate. (of a place) uninhabited and giving an impression of bleak emptiness -defined by Google. Having no comfort or companionship : lonely–defined by Merriam- Webster. The more we look for definitions, the bleaker it sounds. Desolate.
Those that hate the righteous are not going to end well. They will not enjoy the light, the color, the beauty, the holiness, the love of Jesus for all eternity. They will not participate in all the splendor of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Fighting back will not help them get there with us. It will only make things worse. Peace, humility, truth, and meekness will have more impact in their lives and for their souls than fighting back. If they could see more of Him and less of themselves in us, it might just make a difference between joy and desolation.