An Unwanted Blessing
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
by Dr. Paul Chappell
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
The repressive Communist government of Romania did everything they could to silence Richard Wurmbrand after their takeover of the country following World War II. He was arrested and imprisoned, but not even prison bars could stop him from proclaiming the truth of the gospel. In his autobiography, Tortured for Christ, Wurmbrand wrote, “It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.” Wurmbrand’s perspective could only come through his confidence in God’s promises and the Holy Spirit’s work of grace in his life.
Though Jesus promised a blessing for those who are persecuted for their faith, that is a blessing most of us are willing to miss out on receiving. As a result, there are times when we are tempted to be silent with the gospel or avoid taking a stand for Christ when we think it would not be well received. The temptation to take the easy way out is not new. Peter faced it as he warmed himself by the fire outside where Jesus was being tried (John 18:25). But as our society does more to promote evil, our firm stand for the truth must never waver. While none of us would be excited to have to suffer serious persecution, beatings, or worse, as many Christians in the world today do, we should be so committed to following Jesus that if that becomes the choice we face, we will make the right decision.
Today’s Growth Principle:
Fear of what others may say or do should never stop us from doing what is right.