”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, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12 NIV)
On one occasion when The Salvation Army founder William Booth was preaching on the streets of London a man spat at him and hit him square in the face. One of Booth’s co-workers wanted to dry the spittle from his beard, but Booth said: ’Don’t touch it! It’s a medal.’
We sometimes think that it was easier in the old days to be a Christian, but to be a Christian has always resulted in an inherent conflict with this world. The true follower must count on persecution.
Even though Booth didn’t seek persecution for its own sake, he meant that persecution had certain positive effects. When people threw rotten tomatoes and eggs, and yes, even urine at the Salvationists, Booth maintained that at least it brought with it the assurance that no one would join The Salvation Army for personal gain. Only those who had their hearts renewed by Jesus would expose themselves to something so demeaning.
Jesus thank You for not abandoning us when people persecute or belittle us. Help us to, in Your strength, withstand the persecution that You faced and that each true disciple must stand firm against.