Mike’s Musings ….

When All Men Shall Speak Well of You

   Jesus said, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26) Add to these thoughts Paul’s statement to Timothy saying, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3 – 4) Either way, faithful ones need to understand that at times, there will be some who hate you. (see John 15:18; 1 John 3:13).

   It is truly harsh when brethren speak harshly of you! But remember: those closest to Jesus forsook Him and fled (Matthew 26:56). Whoever invented the statement, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” evidently never had anyone speak harshly either toward him or about him! Words do hurt, and actions hurt worse! As Peter said, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” (1 Peter 4:4) Sinful folk (unfortunately at times, including brethren) think themselves the “authority” of acceptable words and deeds, and therefore judge the righteous actions of faithful ones as evildoers (1 Peter 3:16) while endeavoring to “justify themselves” as they indulge their ungodly actions.

   One older and wise preacher urged younger preachers, “When someone is complaining about you, rejoice. You know you’re doing your job!”  In many cases, his advice is true! Remember that Jesus said, “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.” (Matthew 5: 10 – 12)

   I muse on the company we have when we consider the persecution received for doing righteously. We are indeed surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses! (cf. Hebrews 12: 1-2) No, our present-day persecution isn’t in the realm of physical harshness as seen in the first century, or even during more recent centuries when Christians have been harshly ridiculed for their good manner of life in Christ. But it is persecution, nonetheless. We should take it patiently (1 Peter 2:20), consider the source, and recognize the blessing received. (ibid.)  So, be cautious when everyone speaks well of you! You might be better off if someone criticizes you!