“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.” —Matthew 5:11–12 NLT
How was Jesus known when He walked this earth?
He was known as “the friend of sinners.” We might think that sounds like a compliment now, but it wasn’t meant as a compliment then.
Some members of the Jewish leadership establishment were appalled that Jesus would hang out with sinners.
No, He never compromised—this was our holy God in the flesh. But He loved these outcasts, this off-scouring of society, and they knew that He loved them. They were drawn by that love just like moths are drawn to a Coleman lantern in the middle of the wilderness.
We need to love people in the same way. Since we’re going to be persecuted, let’s be persecuted for the right reasons. Not for being self-righteous but for being righteous.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.