11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. — Jesus, Matthew 5: 11-12, NIV, accessed from BibleGateway.com
This goes along with the last section on persecution. How do you react to words you perceive as insults? It’s hard not to feel hurt, rejection or anger isn’t it? If those words are lies and are accompanied by other mistreatment it gets even harder.
Living in this world is not easy, especially for those who are “different.” We have seen so far in our study of Jesus that if we follow his teachings and way of life we will be different. The world will not understand us. We will we ridiculed, lied about and mistreated,, but… We are in good company. Jesus himself and those who have followed him beginning with the original disciples have all gone through this. Some have given their lives for the teachings.
This is why we can rejoice and be glad. By standing against the ways of the world we are standing with that great throng throughout time who have endured the harshness of this world to follow a higher and greater way.
Dig Deeper:How do you react to insults? Is there a better way?
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Jesus, Matthew 5:10, NIV, accessed from BibleGateway.com
Let’s face it, living a righteous, Godly life has never been easy. There has always been opposition. The prophets suffered greatly for their calling. John the Baptist, Jesus and many others were murdered for their faith. Early Christians met in secret because of the persecution and death they faced if discovered.
Notice that Jesus did not say fight back. He said we are blessed when people insult us, make fun of us, persecute us. We are blessed (made happy) because it means we are living in a way that is different than ”the world” and people are taking notice. Persecution means others are recognizing the Christ within us.
In the world we live in now the temptation to not only fight back, but to kill and destroy the opposition is stronger than ever. Even “good church going folks” are falling prey to this. Some pastors are even telling their congregants to arm themselves. This is not the way of Jesus.
Remember we are blessed when the world turns against us. It means we are doing something right.
Dig a Little Deeper:
How do you handle persecution against your faith/”way of life?” Are you willing to take an unpopular stand to state you are for what is right? –Regardless of the cost to you?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
— Jesus, The Bible, Matthew 5:6, NIV, Accessed by Bible Gateway.com
Some precious souls can do many good deeds; they feed the hungry, help heal the sick and wounded, comfort the abused, visit the imprisoned and do many other good and honorable things. Yet these same people are often, themselves, rejected, misunderstood, seen as prey either socially, financially or politically and often do they cry out in their anguish for fair treatment.
How can we be an instrument of God to help the person seeking fair treatment find peace in God?
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
– – Jesus, Matthew 5:5 The Bible, NIV, Accessed via BibleGateway.org
Meekness in our world is often seen as weakness. But if we look at meekness as power under control we see a different picture. While power, position and prestige may be what is valued in the world today, and at the time this teaching was given, Jesus was living and teaching a way of life that would show the world God.
What does living a live of meekness or power under control look like in today’s world?
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
— Jesus, Matthew 5:4 NIV, accessed through BibleGateway.com
People who suffer from various forms of discrimination and unjustness at the hands of nonbelievers do mourn for the indignation of such treatment and for those who perform it because while not knowing it, such people, in reality, do not know God. They mourn for not only the injustice they feel by the perpetuation of the injustice dealt toward them but also for the loss of peace for planet earth by the expression of such hatred from nonbelievers and those who do not know how to express their faith.
How do modern world citizens mourn for the lost possibilities
of a manifestation of Heaven on Earth?
How does the Holy Spirof God comfort us through this?