Responding to Reproach

Responding to Reproach


The more obediently and openly you live your life for Christ, the more you will be chastised, rebuked, criticized, insulted, scorned, taunted...  But when the reproach of the world is in response to the presence of the Spirit of God in your life, you are blessed and He is glorified.
  • 1 Peter 4:14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

Letting the light of Christ shine through you into this dark world can elicit a hateful response; this should come as no surprise. When you are God’s child, you don’t fit in with the world.
  • John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
  • 1 John 3:13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

So how are you, as a follower of Jesus, supposed to respond to reproach? You continue working, sharing and proclaiming, all for the glory of God. Here are three examples from scripture:


Jesus
  • Luke 8:52-53 Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.” 53 And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead.
    • The mourners for Jairus’s daughter ridiculed Christ when He proclaimed that she wasn’t dead.
  • Luke 8:54-55 But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.” 55 Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat.
    • Despite the verbal attacks, Jesus continued with His good work and raised her from the dead.

Paul
  • Acts 17:2-3, 5 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”… 5 But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
    • In response to Paul’s teaching in the synagogue at Thessalonica, many very saved. But those who rejected the truth were jealous and stirred up so much trouble that a mob sought after Paul and Silas and accused them of violating the law of Caesar.
  • Acts 17:10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
    • To save Paul and Silas from attack, they were sent to Berea. Upon arriving there, they continued sharing the truth with those who needed to hear it.

The Psalmist
  • Psalm 71:1, 10-11 In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame… For my enemies speak against me; And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together, 11 Saying, “God has forsaken him; Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.”
    • The psalmist put his trust in the Lord, but his enemies waited for an opportunity to attack.
  • Psalm 71:14-16 But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. 15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. 16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
    • Yet in the face of danger, the psalmist continued proclaiming the infinite goodness of God.

However, we also find examples in the Bible where those who love God responded inappropriately to reproach – in the flesh instead of in the Spirit.


Peter at Christ’s Arrest
  • John 18:10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
    • Peter had proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 8:29) but didn’t restrain His fleshly response as Jesus was telling the troops and officers to let His disciples go. 

King David when reproached by those who reproach God
  • Psalm 69:27-28 Add iniquity to their iniquity, And let them not come into Your righteousness. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous.
    • David judged the hearts of those reproaching God and prayed for their eternal destruction.
 
James and John when a Samaritan village refuses a visit from Christ
  •  Luke 9:54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
    • James and John wanted to destroy in response to the insult of the Samaritans. Jesus reminded them that He came to save, not destroy.

The Psalmist who continued proclaiming the goodness of God from the example in Psalm 71 above
  • Psalm 71:13 Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor Who seek my hurt.
    • Although the psalmist kept his faith in God and continued praising and proclaiming the goodness of God, he also had a vengeful attitude towards his enemies.  The psalmist responded well in one way and poorly in another.

Christians are to respond to reproach in a way that brings glory and honor to God, not in a way that satisfies the sinful desires of the flesh to hate, judge and get even.
  • Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
  • Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.
  • Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Anyone can do good to those who treat them well.
  • Luke 6:33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

It is only through God’s mercy and grace
that we are able to respond to reproach
appropriately
 
  • Psalm 119:41-42 Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord – Your salvation according to Your word. 42 So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Prayer

Father, You have told us plainly that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Please Father, by Your mercy and grace, fill Your children with love and give them the desire to shine brightly in this world for Your glory by responding to reproach with love, joy, peach, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – the fruit of Your Spirit.  Please forgive us when we fall short.  I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.