In the famous sermon preached by Jesus widely known as the “Sermon on the Mount,” He warned that people would speak evil against Christians. According to Jesus, “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). When someone gossips, lies, and speaks evil against you – it is extremely difficult to rejoice in that moment. However, the Christian life will be full of opportunities to learn this behavior that Jesus teaches. In fact, those in the ministry will have a double dose of opportunities.
Recently it was made known to me that someone was speaking evil against me – even behind my back. I knew that it was untrue and that the intentions of the person were not pure, but the ability of my heart to rejoice in that moment when I received the phone call was very difficult. When evil speech comes from a critic on a website or anonymous letter – it hurts – but not near as bad as when it comes from someone that you know and once trusted. The flesh wants to strike back. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked – so it desires to get even. Just when I felt my blood pressure starting to rise, the Holy Spirit brought to my memory a verse of Scripture that I had been soaking in and meditating upon in my study as I had been preparing to preach it. It was found in the text cited above when Jesus warned that people would speak evil against the children of God. However, not only is there a warning, there is a command to find joy and rejoice in that moment. Often when the Holy Spirit brings these things to light it has a tendency to reveal how much sanctification is needed in my own life.
I found myself going out on a run that afternoon and I found myself thinking about the evil speech that had been spoken against me. It was ringing in my ears. Although it had an opportunity to bring harm to me, during my run, as I pounded the pavement around the country roads near my home, I became convinced that the birds that fly through the air and peck on the ground in the fields near me as I pass by do not worry. Therefore, my God is much larger than those who seek division, speak evil, or gossip behind my back. He is the mighty God. He is the faithful Creator. He is powerful. He is the Lord of Hosts. He is the Sovereign King. If a blue bird is not going to worry – neither will I. Furthermore, the words of Jesus also soaked into my heart and mind and as I rounded the corner on my run, I realized that I should be happy that people would speak evil against me. That means that I am actually doing what my Christ has saved me to do. I am fulfilling my purpose. If I must suffer evil speech for doing what Christ has called me to do – than so be it.
Although the daggers of evil speech do hurt (especially when your heart is pure and innocent) – they are nothing compared to the sweet satisfaction and sufficiency of God’s Word. It is amazing how God always has His Word there and ready to bandage up the open wounds that are inflicted by the world of sin. God’s Word is sufficient to every Christian – even those who preach it on a weekly basis.
To God be the Glory!
Pastor Josh Buice