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