Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The ancients believed that suffering was a sign of God’s displeasure—that the sufferer was being punished for some sin committed. In this beatitude, Jesus reversed that view—but only for those who are persecuted “because of righteousness.”
When we think of persecution, our minds run to the barbaric torture of early Christians.
In our time and place, the horrors of the arena and the lash are absent. But the verbal abuses of Matthew 5:11 are common.
The teenager who maintains purity of speech and conduct is often the target of bullying. The workplace—and sometimes even the home—are not exempt from verbal persecution.
The person who refuses to compromise Christian principles to accommodate the demand for tolerance of hedonism will be a recipient of the blessing of the eighth beatitude.
Courage in the face of persecution
brings a big reward.