Here we are; we’ve come to the last of the Beatitudes. But here’s the thing: This one talks about persecution. Luckily, in America, we don’t deal with that much persecution. We may get made fun of for our beliefs, but that’s about the extent of it. The Bible contains a lot of examples of persecution, and, well, it’s obviously a bad thing! But here’s what Matthew 5:10 says:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Okay, I don’t know if it’s just me, but that sounds a little strange. Still, it wouldn’t be the first time that we came across something in the Beatitudes that didn’t seem to make sense. We went from “poor in spirit” to “meek” and now to “those who are persecuted”. All things that can be misunderstood.
I think, when we talk about persecution, we need to look at Jesus’ example. During the entire time that He traveled and taught, the religious leaders weren’t happy with Him. Still, He didn’t face any major persecution until the end, when He bore our sins on the cross. It’s horrifying to think of all that He went through; He was human, after all. It wasn’t like He wasn’t able to feel the pain, or the weight our sins must have had upon Him. So how did He get through that?
One, He depended on and trusted in God. But He also wasn’t focusing on what He was going through at that very moment; He was looking to the future, knowing that it would get better. That’s an example we need to follow. Persecution doesn’t happen without a reason. It could be to further your own spiritual growth or to in some way help someone you know. It may seem confusing, and it should be. This kind of thing is hard to wrap our minds around. But we need to stop focusing on the present when we’re going through trials and tribulations, and remember that God is with us and always will be.
Tomorrow is Easter. Remember what Jesus did for you, and follow His example.
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