Blessed are the ones who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If being a peacemaker isn’t the biggest challenge in The Beatitudes then this one is…being persecuted because we pursue righteousness in our world. Righteousness. Remember what that is? It’s life in our world being the way God intended it to be.
What does that look like? It’s upholding the honor and dignity of all persons, seeing that everyone gets a fair shot at life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. It’s seeing that the marginalized people in our world have opportunity and voice. It’s standing up for people who are bullied by bosses or other co-workers. It’s refusing to participate in gossip or conversations that demean others on the basis of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, or political persuasion. It’s working for the well-being of everyone in our world.
Paying a Price
It is all of this—not that we each are involved in the same way—and then it is being punished for our involvement. Being persecuted, attacked, turned on by the systems we oppose, and maybe even by our friends, sometimes by our so-called Christian brothers and sisters. It is seeking to make our world the place that God created it to be and paying a price for doing so.
Blessed are the persecuted, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people willing to lay down their lives for others.
I believe that a lot of people in our world have a kingdom heart and just do not yet know the King! We run across lots of amazing people who see our world in its pain and suffering and their hearts are moved to make it more the kind of world that God intended it to be. Often, they do not understand Christians who can see the same world, and then turn away to do nothing.
Perhaps if we who know the King got involved with them, then they could come to know the King as we do.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the tenth post in a series exploring the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. Read the last post on “The Beatitudes: Blessed Are the Peacemakers.”
The series is based on Dr. Bill Fowler’s Gilhousen Lecture given July 14, 2020 at YTI. Watch the entire lecture on Facebook here.