Blessed Are the Persecuted

David Bast

READ : Matthew 5:1-11

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad. (vv. 11-12)

Christine has not seen her two young children in five years. Her husband divorced her because she is a Christian believer, and the laws of his religion give him absolute power over his sons. The most Christine can do is try to make contact with her boys by telephone. As she shared something of the pain that fills her heart, Christine’s eyes welled up and the tears flowed freely. “If I could just once hear them call me, ‘Mother,’” she cried, “but my children don’t know me anymore.” And all we could do that evening was to gather around Christine as members of the body of Christ, lay hands on her, and pray to the Lord who comforts the brokenhearted.

There are many forms of persecution directed against followers of Jesus Christ in the world today. When we think of people in non-Christian lands who are suffering for their faith we tend to think of people who are arrested and imprisoned, or those who suffer as the victims of mob violence. Christine’s story reminds us of a different but no less terrible price some may be called to pay “for righteousness’ sake.”

PRAYER

Lord, when we suffer slander or persecution for your sake, help us to think of heaven and rejoice.