Blessed Are You When People Insult You...

Think of the last time someone hurt your feelings. It was probably someone you held dear to your heart.

Today, we casually criticize people on television, remark on billboards we dislike, and discuss the moral ineptitude of our politicians with aplomb. Our words rarely impact those to whom they’re directed, and once we go on to other topics, our comments are forgotten.

During his time on earth, Jesus was condemned by the Jewish leaders, who accused him before the Roman authorities of treasonous acts. Just before the crucifixion, Peter denied him three times. Which of these acts hurt Jesus more?

An insult from someone who barely knows us carries little weight. An insult from a close companion, a spouse, or a child can cut us to the quick. When a co-worker we have labored with for years falsely accuses us of wrong-doing in the workplace, the sting may haunt us for years, souring our relationship.

In Matthew 5:11, Jesus says that we are blessed when people insult us and falsely accuse us of evil because of him, and that we will see our reward in heaven. He wraps up the Beatitudes with a statement that impacts us at our most vulnerable level. Our emotions.

The crowd to whom Jesus spoke was used to having cruel words thrown at them. The Jewish people had long ago lost their supremacy in the social order. They were the underdogs of their society.

That suggests Jesus’ statement spoke of something deeper.

The true insult, the accusation that slices us to the core, is the one that comes from a trusted friend or family member. When those whom we trust most criticize our Christian morals, or when we find we have been deceived by a confidante, the blow often staggers us, and we cannot understand the reason for the attack. It seems to come out of the blue.

This is the insult Jesus spoke of.

When a Christian friend forsakes the church and levels ugly insults our direction, or when our spouse attacks our relationship with Jesus, the wound we receive can create a scar that may follow us for all of our days. Even turning it over to Jesus may not totally heal the damage that has been done.

However, there is one thing we can count on. When we let Jesus’ love shine through us, even when the pain seems greater than we can bear, the peace of God will be ours, for he has promised that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

The cruelest insults seem to come from those we hold closest to our hearts. Even when our pain seems too great for words, Jesus promises he will be with us in our darkest hours, and through him, we will have a great reward.

Copyright © 2013

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Excerpt of the Day

God’s kingdom is about repentance. Are we willing to come with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, to humble ourselves, to become poor in attitude before the Lord?

From Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit..., Posted 12 February 2013.