The world is hostile to the gospel, and those who live for the Lord are not likely to be very popular. To be reproached for our own foolishness, however, is a different story.
I was reminded of this when I read about a young man in the armed forces who faced a court-martial. He insisted on carrying his Bible on guard duty despite being forbidden to do so. Apparently he was in the habit of reading it when he was supposed to be guarding his assigned post. The serviceman said, “Sometimes I get bored on duty. The Bible helps me concentrate on the job.”
The base commander explained, “It simply is against regulations for anyone to be reading on sentry duty. We don’t want his senses distracted from guarding the base.”
Now, I don’t want to be judgmental, but it seems to me that this believer was not suffering “for righteousness’ sake” (Mt. 5:10). In fact, his insubordination was bringing reproach to the cause of Christ. It’s commendable that he wanted to read the Bible. Yet his first responsibility was to fulfill his duties faithfully. He could read the Scriptures on his own time.
When we are reproached as Christians, let’s be sure we’re suffering for doing right—not for doing wrong.
Lord, when I'm lifting up Your name,
I'll gladly bear reproach for You;
But never let me bring You shame
By anything I say or do. —Hess
Some people who think they are bearing a cross are only paying for their mistakes.