Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
In the context of talking about persecution, let’s consider the verses of Matthew 5:10-12. When I read them, my first thought is how glorious they are. The rejoice command is the one we likely miss or overlook. Here are the verses:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
This really requires a paradigm shift for most of us. We typically do not view persecution to be a blessing nor do we want to bless the ones doing the persecution. When it comes to the rejoicing part we likely miss it because it never occurs to us. If Christians are being martyred for their faith in Jesus, our tendency is to view it as an evil. But then we need to consider the words of Jesus. Persecution is a blessing when it is done because of Him or because of righteousness in our lives. As verse 12 states, we are to rejoice and be glad – not become discouraged or angered.
These verses in Matthew indicate that the persecution we receive should be because of righteousness – not because of worldly attitudes or actions. They also make it clear that we will be persecuted because of our faith in Jesus. We want our lives to be filled with His righteousness – meaning that our daily lives are increasingly filled with Godly attributes.
With each passing day we can become more like Jesus. The very fact that we live for Him is going to produce results. Some will be drawn to God and will become His. Others will react negatively and will take it out on us. Let us prepare ourselves that when persecution occurs, we will respond as God wants. Let us remember that it is all about Him – not about us.