Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” vs. 10Matthew 5:7-12
Jesus has already mentioned that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness sake will be blessed, but sometimes we forget just who those folks are. It’s the word righteousness that throws us off. We generally think of that in moralistic terms, but really these are the people who yearn for justice. They want the poor to be lifted up, they want an end to abuse and exploitation. They want the rich to stop taking advantage of the poor. We know who these people are. Some of us have applauded their efforts through the years. Others of us have considered them to be a nuisance. They’ve been called every name under the sun. Jesus knows that some of these disciples are going to be abused too, so he says “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” They’ve got a special place in the kingdom. Working for social justice in our world is dangerous. People don’t mind it if we feed the hungry and clothe the naked, that’s charity, and that’s a good thing to do. But if we start marching or striking, or standing with victims, if we get involved in justice issues it starts getting controversial. We can get abused on social media, our families can be threatened, and we can lose a ton of friends. Jesus says, “Don’t worry, that’s what they did to the prophets. And it’ll be wonderful if they do it to you too!”
Thought for the Day: Why is working for social justice controversial?