For Righteousness Sake
Let’s see how the “persecuted for righteousness sake” (Matt.5:10) scripture unfolds. The root of this blessing is righteousness. Righteousness is an offensive move toward a God-goal, and the persecution is generated because of it. This verse does not say, blessed are the persecuted for theirs is the kingdom. Many have made persecution the focus and left people with a tendency to glorify persecution, even if the conflict is not about righteousness. For example, it’s not about righteousness when a zealous person wants to witness to get another notch in their pistol and they take every opportunity to throw pearls before swine (Matt 7:6). That’s persecution for obnoxiousness’ sake. In the office, when a Pharisaical legalist points out every sin and calls down hellfire, he’s persecuted for condemnation’s sake. The zealot and legalist are not being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. However, from the ripple effect, even though these people have misrepresented God and generated their own persecution and bruises, they become the defensive victim, and being a defensive victim is a common view of Christianity, but not sonship.
(This is an excerpt from an article by Kathy Gabler entitled “Offense: The Kingdom In Action” in which she talks about the advantage of moving from merely a defensive strategy to an offensive strategy.)