– Woodrow Kroll
When we are persecuted, and the Apostle Paul wrote that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2nd Tim 3:12), so how do you respond? We’re told not to “Do not repay evil with evil” (1st Pet 3:9), and even Jesus, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1st Pet 2:23). One of the best witnessing opportunities is when you are persecuted for Christ’s sake. That’s when you can pray for your enemies and love them that do bad to you. If so, you have powerfully demonstrated the love of God where He gives us what we don’t deserve.
Jesus tells us how to respond to our enemies by saying, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44), “expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great” (Luke 6:35). If we love our enemies, we’re like God in the sense that He loved us first (1st John 4:19), even though we didn’t deserve it. He was cursed for our sakes so that we wouldn’t have to be. Even Joseph’s brothers, who treated him like an enemy, brought much good with their evil acts (Gen 50:20), so by loving our enemies, they bring us blessings because we give them what they don’t deserve, just as God has done for us through Christ.
When I get persecuted for some of my other writings on various websites, I tell them, thank you and that I will pray for them. When my persecutors ask why I am thanking them, I tell them that they’ve just blessed me and I tell them what Jesus said; “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10), but also, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:11-12). That is a blessing in disguise.
When Woodrow Kroll said to cherish your enemies because they are blessings in disguise, he was right because we can use these persecutions as witnessing opportunities, we can use these persecutions to show that we love those who hate us, and we can receive a blessing when we’re persecuted for Jesus’ sake. Those are blessings, but they’re not in disguise anymore.