Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
On Sunday we talked about how being in contrast with the world has a little bit to do with how we look, a little more to do with how we act and a whole lot to do with how we react to poor treatment.
Most of the time we turn these things upside down, we worry a lot about how followers of Jesus “look.” We worry a little less about how we act, and when it comes to reacting to poor treatment, we don’t look any different than the followers of the world. Matter of fact, if we were to judge solely by reactions to poor treatment it would be difficult to determine who is following what. It is easy to police the way we look and act, but it is much more difficult to control our reaction to poor treatment. Our reactions are often fueled by arrogant pride, which is the reason followers of Jesus often don’t look any different than followers of the world. That shouldn’t be the case.
Jesus says that you are blessed if you are abused, persecuted and people make false accusations against you for righteousness sake. When referring to persecution Jesus says we should rejoice and be really happy. Rejoicing because of that kind of treatment is truly in direct contrast with the world. Part of the reason for that poor treatment is because you are doing the right thing and it can be seen that you are doing the right thing. But, make sure you are doing the “righteous thing.”
I have seen followers of Jesus, pridefully poke the proverbial “hornets nest” and then cry “Persecution!” when they get stung. Persecution, must be the result of righteous living, not the result of prideful sin or tactlessness. At least that is what Jesus says
Pastor Chris Miller