Matthew 5:10 says this, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Early Christians were persecuted for a variety of reasons. Jews, Saul among them, persecuted Christians as heretics. Jews and Romans accused Christians of immoral practices. The words of the Last Supper, “This is my body…. This is my blood,” led to charges of cannibalism. The Agape (Love Feast) and the kiss of peace led to charges of sexual immorality. Christian refusal proclaim, “Caesar is Lord,” led to charges of treason. At the time that this Gospel was written, Christians were being persecuted. This Gospel helped them to put that persecution into perspective.
Jesus offers a blessing, not to all who are persecuted, but for “those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”
If we experience persecution, we must ask whether it is because we have been righteousness or simply obnoxious. It is wise to invite the church’s counsel in such matters, because it is difficult for us to be objective regarding our own behavior. Still, it is clear that, when opposed, evil will use every trick in the book to win the day. True righteousness invites persecution. Jesus says that such righteousness also ends in blessings.
True righteousness invites persecution. I don’t think we go out and look for persecution but…when we are living a life that is a reflection of Jesus….persecution might come into play. People may not understand the decisions you make. There may be confusion as to why you do this or why you do that.
Jesus’ claim here is that we are blessed for our persecution.
At the end of the day, if we follow Jesus, we are making a conscious choice to do what is right, regardless of the persecution that may be brought into the situation. Our hearts are following Jesus, no matter the cost.