Blessed Are You When Men Revile You and Persecute You

Latest Richard Urban Show: #107-Strengthening Families & Communities Forum: Richard Urban

Cheon Seong Gyeong 2104

In your family you are told, “Be a child of filial piety!” What does this mean? It means to practice true love. Then, what does it mean to say, “Be an heir” or “Be a patriot”? It is saying that we should inherit the nation. What does it mean to say, “Be a saint?” It means that we should love the world; if we do, we will inherit the world. We will be the owner of the world. If we say, “Be a holy son and daughter” and “Be God’s son”… what does that mean? It is saying that we should participate in God’s love and receive the right to inherit the entire universe. Based on the traditional way to inherit all these things, God has been preparing the foundation to develop this logical stage in the fallen world of humanity. From this we can draw the conclusion that the purpose of religion or the path of spiritual attainment is possible. On what basis? On the basis of love. (142-337, 1986.3.14)

Cheon Seong Gyeong 1079

Our members should not be wearing expensive neckties. I am not saying this because I am concerned about what others will think. If possible, however, we should be frugal in these matters. If we live this way, a great revolution of resourcefulness will explode out of this. This is absolutely necessary in America. (94-195, 1977.9.1)

Persecution

SACRIFICE IS OFTEN THRUST UPON A MAN OR WOMAN in the form of persecution. Few desire to be mistreated, misunderstood, slandered, ostracized and harassed. Yet persecution often follows righteous believers like a shadow.
Persecution is of no value if it crushes us. However, those who can persevere with faith and digest these troubles without complaint or resentment can attain the highest goal of fellowship with Heaven. Persecution can be a blessing, because it pushes us into the realm of total self-sacrifice and self-denial. Its circumstances allow us to attain an unsurpassed degree of selflessness beyond what we could achieve by our own efforts. In view of the beatification which comes through sacrifice, it is not surprising that people who are persecuted in faith often lose any negative feelings of hate or vengefulness toward their persecutors and even develop compassion for them. Selflessness begets holiness and relatedness to the divine. Hence the paradoxical fact of history that religions thrive in times of persecution.
Father Moon also teaches that God and Satan have, as it were, a contract between them: If Satan unrighteously persecutes innocent believers, God has a right to claim compensation for damages. In this way, throughout history goodness at first suffers attack but triumphs in the end. God takes this principle to its logical application: Believers should welcome maltreatment and even consciously embark on a course leading to persecution as a way to advance the divine purpose.

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
    Matthew 5.11-12As the elephant in the battlefield withstands the arrows shot from a bow, even so will I endure abuse; verily most people are lacking in virtue.

    Dhammapada 320 (Buddhism)

Assuredly you will be tried in your property and in your persons, and you will hear much wrong from those who were given the Scripture before you and from the idolators. But if you persevere and ward off [evil], then that is the steadfast heart of things.
    Qur’an 3.186

In Ch’en, supplies ran short and his followers became so weak that they could not drag themselves onto their feet. Tzu-lu came to the Master and said indignantly, “Is it right that even gentlemen should be reduced to such straits?” The Master said, “A gentleman can withstand hardships; it is only the small man who, when submitted to them, is swept off his feet.”
    Analects 15.1 (Confucianism)

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. Romans 5.3-5

Do men imagine that they will be left at ease because they say, “We believe,” and will not be tested with affliction? Lo! We tested those who were before you. Thus God knows those who are sincere, and knows those who feign.
    Qur’an 29.2-3

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.”
    John 15.18-20

The Israelites do not return to righteousness except through suffering.
    Talmud, Menahot 53b (Judaism)

The right attitude for the seeker of truth on this lofty Path is, “Let my people look askance; let my wife and children forsake me; let men deride; let kings punish; but I shall be steadfast, O Supreme Deity; I shall serve and ever serve Thee with mind, speech, body, and act; I shall not leave Thy Law.”
    Kularnava Tantra 2 (Hinduism)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,
    For thy sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
    Romans 8.35-37

Or do you think that you shall enter the Garden without such trials as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried, “When will come the help of God?” Ah! Verily the help of God is always near!
    Qur’an 2.214

They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
    Luke 21.12-17

Monks, this is the meanest of callings, this of an almsman. A term of abuse in the world is this, to say “You scrap-gatherer! With bowl in hand you roam about!” Yet this is the calling entered on by those clansmen who are bent on the good because of good, not led thereto by fear.
    Itivuttaka 89 (Buddhism)

After the Buddha’s extinction,
In the last dread evil age,
We will proclaim this sutra.
Though many ignorant men
Will with evil mouth abuse us,
And beat us with swords and staves,
We will endure it all.
Monks in that evil age,
Heretical, warped, suspicious,
Crying “attained” when they have not,
Will have minds full of arrogance…
Abounding in fear and dread,
Devils will take possession of them
To curse, abuse, and insult us.
But we, reverently believing Buddha,
Will wear the armor of long-suffering;
For the sake of preaching this sutra
Every hard thing we will endure.
We will not love body nor life,
But care only for the Supreme Way.
    Lotus Sutra 13 (Buddhism)

The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him that is weary.
Morning by morning he wakens,
he wakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I turned not backward.
I gave my back to the smiters,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I hid not my face
from shame and spitting.
For the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been confounded;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me.
Behold, the Lord God helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.
    Isaiah 50.4-9

King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits… [At] the dedication of the image… the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languagues, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshipped the golden image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
    At that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live for ever!… There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no heed to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
    Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well and good; but if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace; and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”
    Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
    Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he ordered certain mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. These men bound them in their mantles, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was strict and the furnace very hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
    Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He said to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” He answered, “But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
    Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come forth, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their mantles were not harmed, and no smell of the fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set at nought the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.”
    Daniel 3.1-28

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