Thomas Watson makes a number of good points with regard to verbal persecution. He notes that “some think there is no persecution but fire and sword.” While we honor highly those who have bled for Christ, we have to acknowledge that Jesus identifies slanders and revilings as forms of persecution that His followers must endure. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matt. 5:11). Reviling and lying are both forms of persecution, at least the way Jesus defines it. The Lord calls it persecution when you strike someone else in his good name.
If a good name is precious ointment (Eccl. 7:1), then what is it to take that away? The writer of Hebrews calls it a trial when believers had to undergo “cruel mockings” (Heb. 11:36). David had to endure being a song for drunkards and late night comedians (Ps. 69:12).
“Thus Saint Paul was slandered in his doctrine. Report had it that he preached, ‘Men might do evil that good might come of it’ (Romans 3:8). Thus Christ who cast out devils was charged to have a devil (John 8:48). The primitive Christians were falsely accused for killing their children and for incest. ‘They laid to my charge things that I knew not’ (Psalm 35:11)” (The Beatitudes, p. 261).
Watson concludes with an appropriate warning for the Reformed blogosphere — “Let us take heed of becoming persecutors.”