Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blessed by Blessed Out - Martin Wiles

What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. Luke 6:22

As the pastor, Jack had no input in the decision other than to give his consent to what the church leaders felt was a good decision. Don, on the other hand, didn’t see it that way. He had taken a new position in the church, and now he felt his honor was being attacked. A decision made by church leaders related to his position. Even though it just made good business sense to do what the leaders initiated, he received it as an affront to his credibility. Since the leaders who made the decision were long time friends, the pastor became the object of his anger. Don thought he should have stopped the decision. After all, he was the pastor. But he hadn’t. From that moment on, he lashed out at his leader in public and private. He didn’t hold back in letting him know how he felt about the decision and what he felt about him as a leader.

This verse falls in the middle of others referred to as the Beatitudes—Latin for “blessing.” What Jesus proposes, however, appears illogical. When others hate me, I should be happy? When I’m left out, I should be glad? And when others curse me, I should throw a party? Countercultural actions for sure. Actions that would definitely make others sit up and notice. How in the world could I receive a blessing from being blessed out? 

Only with a proper view of circumstances can a blessing out by others give birth to a blessing. The offended church member wasn't really mad at the pastor. His self-image was at stake, so he used what psychologists refer to as displacement—directing anger at a neutral subject or item. 

When we identify with Christ, opposition will arise from various and sometimes surprising sources. Joy is possible, however. While there is no merit in suffering for doing something wrong, there is comfort when we suffer for a good cause…the name of Christ. 

Learn to count it a joy when others revile you because you stand for Christ. 

Prayer: Father, for the joy of suffering for your Kingdom, we thank You.

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