“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)
“If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God;” (1 Peter 4:16-17)
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” (1 Peter 3:9, 13-14)
No one ever thinks it will happen to them. You’re going along, doing your best to serve God and others when, out of nowhere, you face hatred or criticism or false accusation. It’s even worse when those hurtful actions come from those within the body of Christ.
It’s comforting to know that your service and love to God and others is recognized and appreciated by those who know and have seen your spiritual fruit. Jesus was blunt when he warned his disciples about the persecution they would most likely face (John 15:18-21). He was also encouraging, telling them, “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,” (Matthew 5:11-12).
My advice to you if you find yourself in such a situation: Do not be discouraged or lose faith in your service to the Lord. He will reward those who serve him faithfully (James 1:12). Do not become bitter or repay evil actions in kind. Stand above the fray, even if it means you stand alone. And above all, rejoice in sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Blessed are those who love their Lord enough to follow him even in the darkest of circumstances.