Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Matt. 5:10
Let’s take a moment to consider the word, “persecuted,” shall we? When I read this word, I skim over it, thinking, “Persecution doesn’t happen in America as it does in other countries.” Yes, that is true. There are Christians across the world being held prisoner, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ and theirs is surely the kingdom of heaven. We cannot discard this word from our vocabulary simply because we are not being physically persecuted in the United States.
Verbal persecution has become all too common in our once Christ-centered culture.
The names of many Christians today are being slandered in work places, schools and homes. My father was reprimanded for holding private bible studies in his office. Honoring my faith was considered bigotry by my high school teacher and classmates. My best friend was shunned by her own family when she decided to make Jesus the foundation of her life. It’s all around us and how I admire those whose faith comes at a cost (2 Samuel 24:24).
Here’s a thought for us to consider throughout this day. If we’ve never been “persecuted” for Jesus’ sake, what does this say about our Christian living?
Now, this doesn’t mean that we should go out of our way to offend people and call their negative response a sign of our righteousness. It does make one wonder at how bold our faith can be in moments of opposition.
There may be some of us whom have grown comfortable in our world where Christianity is just a part of the culture we happen to live in and we’re coasting through our season of blessing. If this place feels familiar to you, may I invite you to join me in getting uncomfortable today? Whether it be by secretly serving the person who hurts you most or by publicly communicating God’s truth and grace to those in desperate need of it around you, let’s break out of our boxes.
Be prepared because these beatitudes contradict culture and whenever you ‘go against the flow.’ The people around you might be shocked, upset or uncomfortable; but then, they might be convicted, moved or inspired. There is a blessing promised to those who endure difficulty if it is the kind that brings God glory. So, STAND STRONG my sister and BE BOLD my brother.