Persecuted for Righteousness?

Does this scenario sound familiar?

Your faith is strong. You share your beliefs openly. But you want to do more to spread the gospel of our Lord, and you want your family to enjoy community activities with Christian values. So you open your home to neighbors for Bible study. You invite friends from work to join you for worship. You become a Brownie Girl Scouts leader. Your spouse becomes a soccer coach. It all feels so right.

Or does it?

People start judging your motives. They criticize your beliefs, since theirs are different. They’re offended—are you trying to convert them? They were happy as they were. People have jumped on the politically correct bandwagon to leave religion out of the neighborhood, work, Scouts, or sports. Instead of unifying people, you feel alone and abandoned.

Jesus’ last Beatitude begins to strike a chord: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). You may not be feeling the heaven part just yet, and you certainly aren’t being persecuted like the members of the early Christian church were. But still, the Scripture feels familiar.

Unlike the English Puritans who fled Britain in the 1600s for religious freedom, you don’t have to flee the United States; you have to recognize people’s differences. Having felt discouraged and deflated, you have an aha! moment.

If I am for God, and he is walking with me, why do I have to fear the reaction of others? My heart is full, and I know that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). You decide to accept those who will passionately disagree with your beliefs, and embrace those who ask you to share more.

The Holy Spirit will guide us as we live our faith and spread the good news, so keep on keeping on. Share his word and his love. Acknowledged or not, more spiritual awakenings have occurred than you realize. God is at our side, and his will will be done!