We'd be naive to believe that people don't speak negatively about us. If you're doing something positive and trying to serve God, there will be nay-sayers and negativity. The enemy will use ANYONE to try and get you off of your game. It's all a matter of learning how to handle the criticism in such a way that it doesn't rock you to your core. Everyone will face criticism especially when on a path that's positive. If you haven't faced criticism, you're probably doing something wrong. That's really uncomfortable to think about because we all want to be liked and adored. However, that won't be the case. People will literally find reasons to dislike you.
I am so encouraged from the text for today. I really like the Message translation because it's so conversational.
"Not only that -- count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens-- give a cheer, even!--for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble." Matthew 5:11,12.
Here are two reminders I'd like to share to encourage you in the Lord!
1. When you are earnestly seeking to do God's will and people talk about you, you are blessed! -
That's weird, right? When I think of blessings, I think of the fruit of the spirit. I also think of tangible blessings like good family & friends. I don't like to think about slander & persecution as blessings but Jesus Christ says to be happy and cheer when these things happen because you are in good company. Anyone that was considered a warrior for Christ experienced this blessing. Consider it an honor that God has confidence that you can rise to the occasion and wear the blessing of persecution well.
2. When you are living a life that pleases God, your mere presence is a rebuke to people who are in the wrong. You don't even have to say anything. The light of God that's in you says it all. So when you come around people and they get uncomfortable and feel judged, it could be a result of your enemies knowing the difference between right and wrong but still choosing to live in the flesh. Be careful not to shrink as a result of their attack. You still need to shine for Christ because there are people are in desperate need of a Savior and will not reject Him. Your testimony is needed. Make a commitment to yourself to live boldly for Christ in spite of the discomfort that may come with persecution.
I hope this encourages you to continue in your walk with Christ. I'm learning these lessons as I write them so we're in this together. May God bless you as we continue to unashamedly pursue Him!
God bless you!