Read Genesis 4:6-10; 1 John 3:10-12
Persecution of the Righteous
How do others react when you set your sights on doing what the Lord commands without addition, subtraction, or substitution? There will be those who support you in your efforts to live righteously, and thank God for good friends such as those! Sadly, there will be others who try to derail you and lead you away from the old paths revealed in the Scriptures.
Still others will stand against you, reject you, and persecute you. Is this not what happened to Abel? There is no record of any strife between Cain and Abel before their offering to the Lord. Cain became angry because Abel listened to God, and Cain murdered his brother simply because Abel was trying to do what was right in God’s sight.
The apostle John compared Cain to one who “does not practice righteousness,” therefore “is not of God.” He plainly wrote by inspiration that Cain “was of the wicked one and murdered his brother…(b)ecause his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” Yes, there will be people who want to do you harm simply because you want the best for them!
The Messiah Himself declared, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
How do we react when we are thus persecuted? Look to the example of the apostles in Acts 5:41: “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Our reaction to negative situations will speak volumes of our faith. We must withstand the hatred, embrace the mockery, and in our continued righteous living, glorify the Lord of love.