Matthew 5: 1: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, … 10: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Walk: To walk with Jesus links us with persecution and suffering. His walk on earth was full of many sorrows. Some of those were the normal sorrows all of us endure such as loss of family members, friends being sick and just normal stuff. Some of those sorrows were persecutions from friends and trusted people and strangers. One of His greatest persecutors was the religious leaders of the day. These were men dedicated to God. These were men, whom the Father worked with daily to grow understanding. These should have been friends of Jesus and the message He brought. His message was a fulfillment of thousands of years of promises. These very people turned on the God they worshipped and persecuted Him. We are joined to that persecution when we are joined to Him.
Brian’s Exchange: The exchange was painful. Brian had worked for this company for four years. He had put in countless weekends and nights. Calls came at all hours of the day. Last year, his direct reporting structure had changed. This new vice president was different. During his annual review, Brian had gotten two messages. 1. Prayer has no place at work. 2. You need to be less involved outside of work. The company doesn’t like it.
Why a Problem Now? This had never been a problem before. For years he had been active in the faith community as a volunteer. Now, his personal life was being attacked by his work management. There was nothing active at the work place other than visiting with folks over break and lunch. The attack was devastating. He really had no experience to compare with this. The hardest part was that the organization purported to the public to be linked to a large Southern denomination. To the employees behind the scenes it was something different.
ACT! How do you return blessing for cursing when you are persecuted? Scripture tells us to bless those that persecute us. Have you ever been in the situation of real persecution for your faith? Think of a way to bless those that persecute you for your faith.
PRAY! Father, persecution from anyone is hard. Persecution from those from whom we expect blessing is super hard. How do we survive? How do we handle it? How do we continue in good works even in the middle of the mess? Teach us, Father. Show us the path of Christ. Show us how to reach out and continue to spread the gospel when the environment is hard. Teach us to pray and bless over those that persecute that they might get connected with Christ themselves. Help those that persecute us to have the eyes of their understanding enlightened. Help them to see. Help them to engage love in all they do. Bless them abundantly.