"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
We've heard the statement, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." That's not exactly true, is it? If you intend to live for Christ and stand up for the Lord in your workplace or in your neighborhood, there will come a time when you'll be called a "weirdo" or a "fanatic." The Apostle Paul was not exempt from being falsely branded. In Acts 28, he was called a murderer after a snake had bit him in the hand. Those who witnessed this assumed that he was an evil person. Paul did not defend himself against the attack; instead he shook it off and kept on serving others.
D.L. Moody, the great man of God who led thousands upon thousands to the Lord, was called "Crazy Moody." W.A. Criswell, at the age of 84 and after 50 years in ministry had a former staff member refer to him as a power-hungry tyrant. Charles Stanley tells of an incident in his book, "The Source of My Strength" when he was struck in the face by a man yelling and cursing about his leadership at a church meeting. You might as well get used to it. If you love and serve God, sooner or later you will be branded by the unsaved.
When this happens to us, what can we do to "shake it off?" First, we must trust God's Word. In Acts 27:24, Paul was told by the Lord he would make it to Rome. He didn't let a snake bite stop him.
Secondly, we must keep on going. Satan strikes for the purpose of stopping us from doing what God has given us to do, and to discourage us from being what God wants us to be.
Thirdly, we must let the Lord protect us. Psalm 28:7 says, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."
Lastly, we must remember that God is in control. Circumstances beyond our control give us the opportunity to be tried and tested, sometimes with the non-Christian as a witness. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brothers, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."
It was well within Joseph's power to have his brothers killed if he wanted revenge. But he chose to grow through the difficulties he faced. It takes more spiritual strength not to retaliate when we are wronged!
When we're branded falsely, what are we going to do? Will we be like the Apostle Paul and Joseph, who kept on going, or will we fizzle out? Friend, I encourage you to keep putting wood to the fire and keep burning for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
by Dr. Paul Chappell