It seems to me that when doing what is right matters the most is when you are most likely to face trouble for doing what is right. The times when you are most needed to stand up to bullies are the times when you are outnumbered. The times when you need to stand your ground are the times when people are trying to knock you out. The times when you need to speak out the truth are the times when the world is determined to drown you out.
History testifies that those who are determined to do what is right are often the ones who take the worse blows. They are targets for hate. They are despised obstacles for anyone who profits from evil or wickedness. Their lives are tough and many do not get the recognition or rewards in this life that they deserve.
But Jesus here says they are blessed, for even though they take the blows they will also receive something greater; they will one day inherit a kingdom that is drenched in righteousness; the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus came to proclaim. They will one day see and live in the kind of society that they spent their earthly life fighting for, they will see the desires of their heart materialize before them in heavenly perfection.
I think this series of Jesus’ words are helping me to realise just how important the Kingdom of Heaven is to the Christian faith. Sometimes I think I have undervalued the hope and joy this promise offers.
But people who fiercely pursue righteousness need to hold on to these promises, because they can give you the strength and courage to stand your ground, especially when you know that the battle you are fighting could cost you, even your life.
I listened to this speech today that Martin Luther King Jr gave the day before he was assassinated and it sends shivers down my spine. He got this verse, he lived this verse. He is an inspiration for everyone to keep on chasing down righteousness, whatever the cost.