“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?
The words of Jesus from what is known as The Sermon on the Mount — Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) From Bible Gateway
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16 The Bible, New International Version
The term “light of the world” is often associated with Jesus, especially during the Advent/Christmas season. But in the above scripture passage from what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that WE are the light of the world. In these turbulent times it can be difficult and even frightening to let our light shine. But shine we must. We must live the truth, even though those who are still blind to it may ridicule or even threaten us.
I am the light of the world. YOU are the light of the world. WE are the light of the world. Now go forth and shine!