Christian, if you dwell in the open tent of licentiousness, the wicked will not walk backward, like modest Shem and Japheth, to cover your shame: but they will walk forward, like cursed Ham, to publish it. Thus they make use of your weakness as a plea for their wickedness. Men are merciless in their censures of Christians; they have no sympathy for their infirmity: while God weighs them in more equal scales, and says, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." While a saint is a dove in the eyes of God, he is only a raven in the estimation of sinners.
Neither the persecuting hand of men, nor the chastising hand of God, relaxed ancient singular saints. Believers resemble the moon, which emerges from her eclipse by keeping her motion, and ceases not to shine because the dogs bark at her. Shall we cease to be professors because others will not cease to be persecutors?
Therefore, I bind these lies and slanderous accusations to my person as an ornament; it belongs to my Christian profession to be vilified, slandered, reproached and reviled, and since all this is nothing but that, as God and my conscience testify, I rejoice in being reproached for Christ's sake.
How did Jesus expect His disciples to react under persecution? (In Matthew 5:12 He said), "Rejoice and be glad!" We are not to retaliate like an unbeliever, nor sulk like a child, nor lick our wound in self-pity like a dog, nor just grin a bear it like a Stoic, still less pretend we enjoy it like a masochist. What then? We are to rejoice as a Christian should and even "leap for joy" (Lk. 6:23).
Author: John Stott Source: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, IVP, 1978, p. 52.
Persecution is simply the clash between two irreconcilable value-systems.
Author: John Stott Source: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount
Popularity has slain more prophets of God than persecution ever did.
Saints and martyrs are famous for testifying to the truth about Jesus Christ while their enemies set them on fire, but each day ordinary Christians experience small martyrdoms when they blow the whistle on a dangerous product, or lose a friend they had to confront, or stand up in a small group and, for the first time in their lives, say to a group of strangers,"My name is Maxine, and I am an alcoholic."
It has become a settled principle that nothing which is good and true can be destroyed by persecution, but that the effect ultimately is to establish more firmly, and to spread more widely, that which it was designed to overthrow. It has long since passed into a proverb that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."