Remember [and continue to remember] that I told you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
Good friends come, and good friends go. Even the office of “best friend” can change over time. This was especially true for me as I made the transition from sinner to saint. I really thought that those who had known me for years, those who professed to love and respect me, would be affected positively by my salvation. I expected them to take my testimony to heart and recognize what I had recognized about Jesus. Instead, I was met with alienation and betrayal. They no longer saw me as the same person, and that would bring to ruin most of my friendships. In particular, the man I considered my best friend immediately turned on me because my new beliefs offended his lifestyle. I had become fodder for gossip and ridicule, which I never expected from my friends.
It is funny to think that I expected those close to me to accept my becoming a Christian considering that Jesus himself was met with doubt when He proclaimed who He was. His most surprising opposition may have come from his own hometown. These were people who had seen him grow from a boy to a man. They certainly had knowledge of his character and personality. Yet, they rejected the truth of his deity. Likewise, even in his inner circle Jesus encountered doubt from those who had seen him perform miracle after miracle. In the face of fear, one who professed to never leave the Lord’s side and to die for him, if necessary, instead denied him three times. If we are no better than our master, then we can expect to experience no better as we live in a way that represents him.
When we look to the sky, shake our heads and ask God why it is that we sometimes are not treated well in this life, we need only remember what our Savior endured. His persecution and suffering was not only physical. If we live for him, we will suffer for and with him. There is no way of getting around that promise. When we begin to feel self-pity and want to complain about our suffering, let us remember the privilege it is to share in that which Christ endured. It is by our sufferings that we develop perseverance and endurance, which are necessary for our transformation here. Father, give us hearts which gladly accept persecution for the cause of Christ, that we would learn how to grow through our sufferings.