“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
In some ways this verse is an extension of Matthew 5:6 that speaks of a hunger and thirst for righteousness that only God can satisfy. We can’t become righteous on our own; otherwise it would be self-righteousness, which God is against (see Matthew 5:20).
When our lives reflect the character of Christ, righteousness stands out in us in the forms of justice, fairness, honesty and blamelessness. When we walk in these attributes, people notice. But not everyone likes it when we do. For example
- When an African mother took her daughter to school so the girl wouldn’t be married after 8th grade, upsetting the arrangement made by the father, the mother was told by her husband not to come home.
- A communist government burned down a church building
- Indian church leaders were beat up, as they were considered a threat to national culture
Simply living out their Christian faith by helping people, holding a worship service or meeting needs in a local community, these people were persecuted because they did some things right and it upset a third party. Getting it right in God’s eyes when the world gets it wrong can be a very painful place.
But Jesus promises something beyond that pain. He promises the kingdom of heaven, where His resources and riches are available to His persecuted ones. With that outcome, it’s still worth it to do right and serve others. God sees it all and the final reward is from Him.
Til next week,