A student is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. A student should be content to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If the head of the household has been called Beelzebul, how much more, those of his household! So, do not be afraid of them!
There is nothing covered that will not be uncovered. There is nothing hidden that will not be made known. What I am telling you in the dark, you must speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but have no power to kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of him who can destroy both body and soul in hell. For a few cents you can buy two sparrows. Yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father knowing. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted. Do not be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows!
Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. Whoever rejects me before others, I will reject before my Father in heaven.
If I am a free agent, I can always choose to do very bad actions. I can choose to hurt other people, to rob them, to kill them. Why does God allow this to happen? Because he wants me to be free. When he made me a man and not an animal, he made me free. And he respects my freedom so much that he will not strike me dead when I decide to use my freedom by choosing to do bad actions.
This explains in part why people suffer so much, why there are martyrs. Why does God not intervene and protect them from death? Because he respects human freedom, the freedom of those who freely choose to kill Christians.
Yet this is not the whole story. This is only half of the story. It deals with our life in this world. But the story continues after our death. Then freedom of choice ceases and God takes over. The one who suffered from the persecutor’s evil choice is made happy forever, whereas the persecutor is punished. That is why Jesus tells us not to fear persecution. Sure, he says, if things come to the worst, you might die. But God is present at your death and will eventually compensate it surpassingly.
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