“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 5:10, NASB
The affirmation of God is sweet in the midst of human treachery.
I can’t say in good conscience that I have been persecuted, at least not for righteousness sake but verse 11-12 expand this beatitude to include insults…
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I have been accused falsely and I have the testimony and witnesses to back it up but I don’t think it would be edifying for you to hear it. There is a qualifier in this beatitude that I noted in bold. It is one thing to be persecuted and another to be persecuted for righteousness sake. We heard these verses out of Isaiah chapter one at the prayer rally yesterday…“If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!” God wanted to bless Israel but they were so hard headed and rebellious that He allowed them to be mistreated. They were not suffering for righteousness, they suffered for being unrighteous. Had they been obedient to the LORD, they would have avoided much of what they suffered. I think the same thing is true of me.
I do have a story. It happened a long time ago. It was on a Friday and I was at the abortion clinic in Huntsville. I did not attempt to do any counseling, all I did was walk and pray and try to encourage the women who did attempt to talk to the girls coming in. A young punk pulled up to the women, rolled his window down and began using vulgar language as he cursed them. I was on the other side and I went straight for the car and the open window. He saw me coming and put the pedal to the metal but the red light caught and I was in pursuit. He had rolled his window up but he saw me coming up beside him. I can’t remember if he ran the light or it changed but he got away. I walked back to the clinic expecting to be hailed as a hero. Wrong! One of those little Catholic ladies chewed me out. Then she quoted Matthew 5:11-12. She said, “You are to rejoice when this happens, not retaliate.” I knew she was right but that was no way for a man to talk to theses ladies. This is not the only time I have missed a blessing by not being obedient.
Our yard is a beautiful April green. The rye grass is growing like a weed but I have not had the time to mow and now the rain has set in again. I have to pick up tree limbs before I can mow.
I hope you have a great Friday and a great weekend. Thank you for reading the blog.