“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets who were before me.” Matthew 5:10-12
Persecution has been around since the beginning of time. The word persecution comes from the word persecute which means to harass or oppress someone with ill-treatment because of their race, gender, religion or set of beliefs. Jesus in this passage talks about a specific type of persecution, to be persecuted for living for Christ and showing that faith wherever we go.
There are those around the world who every day are persecuted for being a Christian, for worshipping God, for studying the bible and for standing up for Jesus. There are those who risk their lives every day for righteousness. There even some countries that bible is not allowed and if someone gets caught with one they can be severely punished even killed. There are those who stand up for Christ even knowing that they might be killed.
It interesting to note that there are those who walk miles to go to worship and others who are so eager to learn about Christ that they will do anything it takes to do that. That’s the world around us, but how about here in America? Are we persecuted for what we believe in and for being Christians? We can study the bible anytime we want; it’s even on our phones. We can worship without being killed and we have cars to get us to worship. So why don’t we have this same passion as others who are persecuted do? Do we stand up for what we believe in knowing that there will be others laughing, mocking and asking us to stop? That might just be our friends.
This week there is a growing phenomenon that people everywhere are doing, it’s called Tebowing. Tebowing is named after Tim Tebow and it means to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different. Some are mocking Tebow for his example of faith by doing this but Tebow was taking the description at face value. “It is serious, for me,” Tebow said. “At least it’s being talked about, and that’s a cool thing. If I can help be an example of that, then I look at that as a blessing.”
Are we willing to have that same type of attitude about Christ in our lives? Are we willing to be the ones who stand up for Christ when everyone around us is doing something completely different even if it means we will be persecuted? There is a reward for those who are persecuted, to Rejoice because great is your reward in heaven.
~John D. Hayden