“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
We are currently hearing of a great division in our nation, a political and ideological division between liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans. The real division, according to God’s word, is between the Church and the world, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The wicked ways and values of a world opposed to Christ and His Kingdom permeate society and government on every level. This state of affairs and is frustrating to Christians who desire peace and righteousness, who see the Lord mocked and dishonored. There is a great gap between the culture and values of the world and the Kingdom of God. Consequently the laws, events and trends that dominate the world and affect our daily lives are usually things that we really can do little or nothing to change or resolve. We feel powerless and victimized.
This is why it is so comforting to read the words of Jesus in the Beatitudes. They bring such comfort and peace to our troubled hearts in the midst of our frustration. As children of God, members of His eternal Kingdom, we are as Jesus describes us: poor in spirit, mourning and weeping, meek and lowly, hungering for righteousness, persecuted, reviled and abused all for the sake of the gospel.
Yet, as Jesus says we are blessed by our heavenly Father, for all the sorrow we endure for the sake of Jesus is part of the normal Kingdom life on earth. So rather than being troubled by persecution, we should expect it! It is the clash of systems with contradictory values and cultures. We should not seek revenge or sulk bitterly in a constant state of gloom and depression. Rather we should be glad because persecution is proof that we are faithful believers doing the work of Jesus. The world persecuted the prophets of old; they persecuted Jesus. We should expect the same as we remain loyal to God’s standards of truth and righteousness.