||Happy Are The Harassed
The title is somewhat concerning...maybe a bit confusing. After all, who in their right mind would believe that those who are insulted or those who are verbally harassed can be happy? That depends on the type of verbal abuse. According to Jesus, for those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, they are doubly blessed. In Matthew 5:11, He identifies three different types of persecution that a follower of Jesus can expect: abusive criticism, verbal insults, and false accusations. If you have ever been the subject of such persecution, as painful as it feels, Jesus calls you "blessed." You may feel hurt, disappointed, ostracized, rejected, and plenty of other emotions, but still, this is the life that God blesses.
For anyone who has had a co-worker disassociate with you because you refuse to participate in ungodly conversation and dirty jokes; for anyone who has had a neighbor that has nothing to do with you because of your relationship with Jesus Christ; for anyone who has a family member who mocks you because of your faith, stand firm and be counted faithful! Not that you have to enjoy the persecution, but rather, the reward that Jesus promises.
In Matthew 5:12, Jesus says to rejoice and be exceeding glad. That phrase literally means to skip and jump with great excitement. What? Why? First of all, your suffering identifies you with Jesus Christ. Without doubt, being persecuted for righteousness sake is a great evidence of your salvation. Even the apostle Paul understood the significance of being identified with Jesus Christ when he said in Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." Secondly, the persecuted can be identified with the great prophets of old. Thirdly, Jesus says, "for great is your reward in heaven." That reward is further clarified in Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."
Jesus Himself taught that His followers would be persecuted (John 15:18-20) Peter wrote to those who were following Christ and revealed what they should expect (1 Peter 4:12-15; 2:23). Paul clearly stated that those who live godly shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Trials and persecution are expected in the lives of those who follow after Christ. Be encouraged that you are on the right path if you are persecuted for righteousness sake. You are doubly blessed!