Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ESV Matt 5:11-12
Rejoicing in Persecution
Have you been persecuted for being a Christian? Maybe it wasn’t overt, and maybe you weren’t sent to prison, but has anyone ever said something derogatory to you because of your faith? Jesus gives encouraging words in the verses above as He calls us to rejoice and look forward to our reward in heaven when we are persecuted. Of course, first we have to note the word “falsely.” Some Christians unfortunately don’t live like Christ, and deserve the evil uttered against them. If you are persecuted for any reason, take a minute to check your heart and actions and make sure you aren’t the cause of the persecution!
If your self-reflection leaves you simply clinging to the cross (as it should), then keep your focus on Jesus and begin to rejoice and be glad. Sometimes I think it’s wrong to look forward to rewards in heaven (it seems selfish or something), but Jesus here encourages us to do just that. Not only that, but suffering persecution allows us to join the ranks of the prophets and saints before us who have stood firm under persecution and revilement. While it seems odd, persecution is proof you are living a holy life. Paul reminds us that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12). You are doing something right when people persecute you.
Enduring with you,