Worthy to Suffer

Persecution is never fun, especially when it’s only from doing what we believe is right. At some point, to some degree, we’ve all had to deal with people yelling at us or mocking us for what we do or what we believe.

As a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and therefore a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, it happens frequently in my life and the lives of my fellow missionaries. At first it was a bit difficult to deal with, but as time went on I grew to a better understanding of these circumstances.

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave this counsel in Matthew 5:10-12,

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.

If others try to bring you down because you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior, so be it. You are blessed for it. This knowledge always comes to mind whenever I’m put in such a situation. It’s not always easy, and I often wonder why anyone would want to mock someone simply because they want to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

The apostles of the New Testament faced persecution all their days. They were often unjustly arrested, brought before councils of corrupt Pharisees, and wrongly imprisoned and tortured.

On one such occasion, Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin after just escaping out of prison with the help of an angel. The Pharisees had commanded them to discontinue preaching in the name of Jesus Christ and the two apostles boldly withstood their threats and told them they would obey God rather than the council.

One from the council, a man named Gamaliel, stood and told his fellow Pharisees to leave the apostles alone, saying that if their work was of men it would pass, and if it was from God then they shouldn’t fight against it.

Acts 5:40-42

And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Peter and John were released, but not after being beaten. When they were finally free from the council, they rejoiced for their suffering, or rather, that they were being allowed to suffer for Jesus Christ’s name. And on top of that, they continued to preach, showing that they feared God more than they feared man.

Now, I can’t say I’ve been unjustly arrested and imprisoned, and I have yet to be beaten up for my beliefs. But for the persecution that I have faced, I am grateful that I am counted worthy to suffer it. This can be the case for any of us that suffers persecution for our Christian beliefs.

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that He lives. I know that Jesus Christ restored His church to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. If I suffer mockery and other persecutions for my faith, so be it. I will be grateful to be counted worthy to suffer such shame for Christ’s name, and I know that I will be blessed.

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