Is It For Righteousness Sake?

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:10

Every person knows some degree of persecution.  Feeling unwanted.  Scorned.  Left out.  Rejected.  God has a heart for you if persecution from others has been part of your story – even from birth.  But there is another kind of persecution.  Righteous persecution.  That means that I will suffer because of my association with Jesus.  When I love Him more than others, that will affect what I say and the choices I make.  To align with Jesus is to be misunderstood and unpopular.  I can’t expect otherwise.  When Jesus entered ministry, His first sermon incited a crowd to stone Him even though He’d only delivered a paragraph.  His words were so sharp that they pierced through the unrighteousness of the crowd like a sword.  The Light of the world caused others to shield their eyes for they loved darkness rather than light.

Until I became God’s child, I was homogeneous with my world.  My parents, family, and friends taught me how to think and view the world.  I loved harmony (as I’m a peacemaker) so I lived rarely making waves.  God turns this upside down, whether we are peacemakers or not, as He becomes our Father and re-parents us to think, feel, and act like Jesus.  Supremely, that is our life’s goal as a new disciple.  I can sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus. .” but then continue to think for myself.  Never am I more hypocritical and salt-less.

If I am an angry person and my words repel others, I will be persecuted.  But, this is not the kind Jesus refers to.

If I am a judgmental person and walk around with a disapproving demeanor, I will be persecuted.  But, this is not the kind Jesus refers to.

I can be a dark person and suffer the exclusion of others.  But, this is not the kind Jesus refers to.

I can be a controlling person and suffer the criticism of others and even though I might be right at times, this is not the kind of persecution Jesus refers to.

‘For righteousness sake’ means that when I speak and act like Jesus, in the way He spoke and in the way He acted, I will be persecuted in the same manner as He was.  Even though humble, I will be hated.  Even though I love, I will be rejected.  Even though I desire to serve, my offers will be refused.  Even though, before God, I have committed no crime except to live out the Gospel, I may be stoned and imprisoned.  But I am blessed by God.  The end of Hebrews 11 says that the world is not worthy of God’s children who walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

I will not hold a pity party.  You told me to expect it, forgive, and seek my comfort from You.  Align me where I’m out of alignment.  Amen

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