“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
It’s ironic that these verses come immediately after Christ’s call to be peacemakers. We are called to bring healing and hope to a world that desperately needs it. We are on God’s side, trying to serve in the best interests of others.
And yet, people sometimes choose to repay us with anger, hostility, or outright persecution. According to Jesus, it’s not a question of whether this will happen but of when and where it will happen.
Persecution may come in a variety of forms. A snarky comment. A broken relationship. Physical or emotional abuse. Some of you reading this know the pain and the cost of following Jesus. You have lived it, or you might be experiencing it now.
Jesus seeks to encourage us in these difficult moments. When the world fails to understand why we live the way we live, Jesus promises that the kingdom of heaven is ours. If we stand firm and hold to our hope in Christ, we can experience a measure of peace.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when people reject us and mistreat us. But, deep down, we have comfort, knowing that God will provide for our every need. And in the end, we will share in his victory over sin. And death. And every enemy.
Father, help me to stay faithful in the face of adversity and persecution. Help me to resist the temptation to compromise, and may I continue serving you in hope, trusting in your promise of victory. Amen.