Blessed When People Don’t Like You, or Worse

We are reaching the end of the Beatitudes. Sort of an outline for Jesus and his teaching. This one is a bit different. We must be careful how we approach this one, which is longer.

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s Kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Some people, at least in America I’m not sure about other places, seem to go out of their way to achieve this one. Or perhaps look for instances of this. But their view of persecution stops short of anything personally threatening. It’s more along the lines of “the popular people in town don’t like me.” Some actually use this as a source of pride.

I think of people who emulate the preacher in the stage play and movie Paint Your Wagon who thought it was his role to condemn people and took a perverse pride in not being liked.

I don’t think that Jesus told us to try to be disliked. That is merely being obnoxious. But in Jesus’s day, choosing him (God) was rejecting both the Roman power structure and the Jewish power structure. Either one of which could cause death in the extreme cases.

Continuing to live on the path of following Jesus–living in the moment with-God–will threaten some people who may attack you physically, emotionally, financially. You are blessed because you are still with God. It’s not a disgrace. It’s not a source of pride. It’s a blessing to live with-God no matter what.

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