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.Matthew 5:10-12
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.Luke 6:22-23
The trend in modern Christianity when even light persecution is faced is to whine in the most public way possible and get others to feel sorry for the injustice. This is a symptom of what I call “Facebook Christianity.” We desire others to feel sorry for us and defend us.
Jesus tells us to react quite differently. He says to rejoice!
Jesus is not saying that we should somehow strangely enjoy pain or troubles. He is telling us to look at the whole picture. The fact that we are being persecuted for doing things in the name of Jesus shows that we are in good company! Throughout Biblical history we see those that are doing the right thing are attacked by those who desire evil.
Persecution is a clear evidence of our standing in grace.
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.Philippians 1:28
And when we rejoice under persecution, we see how highly God values us.
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.Acts 5:41
God believes we are worth the blood of His only begotten Son!
Incidentally, I used to say that I was a very blessed man because I had never really suffered persecution for following Jesus. However, I discovered the reason I wasn’t being persecuted was because I wasn’t acting righteous enough! As soon as I started drawing closer to Christ, it didn’t take long for the ridicule and mocking to begin.
How is it with you?