Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Hardly a day passes without news of more people being killed simply because they were Christians. Not only do we have an almost instantaneous “news cycle,” the pace of persecution of all sorts really does seem to be picking up. Not since the Nazi death camps have we had such widespread killing for the sake of killing. Back then the focus was on Jews, but today, as it was in Armenia a century ago, the focus is on Christians. The shocking thing for many is that persecution is happening in previously “Christian” countries, even if not often to the point of killing. (In America the genocide is not because of the faith of the one killed but because of the deluded selfishness of the one submitting their unborn child to be killed.) Jesus is saying that those who are persecuted because they are right (the ones persecuting them are obviously wrong) have an eternal reward that far outweighs whatever the persecution might be, even death. That’s a pretty marvelous promise! No one in their right mind seeks persecution, but if it comes because we are clinging to the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, (John 14:6) then we have every reason to rejoice, as Jesus Himself said in verse 12.
I don’t feel like I have suffered persecution for righteousness, but I am aware that the way the world seems to be heading, it is a distinct possibility. At this point, I tend to complain about all sorts of things that are far short of what so many are enduring in so many places these days. The challenge to me is to support my brothers and sisters in prayer and to walk in personal purity and obedience to our Lord. I recall some years ago some Chinese Christians said, “Don’t pray that the persecution will end, pray that we will have faith and strength to endure it.” I dare say they were in much better shape spiritually than the majority of Christians! I don’t have the wisdom to do the right thing all the time, but I know the One who does, and I am to walk in full submission and obedience to Him.
Father, the Internet brings news of more killings daily, not to mention persecution in other forms. Keep me from being distracted, much less consumed, by all of that. Rather, help me focus fully on Jesus Christ and the tasks You have for me as Your representative, so that I may be transformed more and more into His likeness as Your will is done in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!