Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10).
Did you ever read Foxe’s Book of Christian Martyrs? It tells the stories of men and women who suffered death—in various gruesome forms—rather than deny the name of Christ.
I have never been threatened with death for following Jesus. Chances are, neither have you. Throughout history there has been persecution. Even today, there are many in the world who risk imprisonment or worse for following Christ.
But not here.
For better or for worse, we live in a society that allows us to worship God openly, without fear of reprisals.
For the moment, anyway.
I’d like to think that, if real persecution came, I would stand firm, braving whatever might come with a song of praise on my lips.
I’d like to think that.
But I just don’t know, do I? Frankly, I sometimes crumble in the face of the fluffy nothings that do come my way.
The odd look. The occasional raised eyebrow. A little mocking because I don’t speak or act in the way that the world does. It’s amazing how little it sometimes takes to send me packing.
Today, as we head out into our respective Thursdays, let us act in such a way that we stand out for Christ. If that results in persecution, let us embrace it and rejoice.
Stand firm, Beloved.