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Joyful Suffering (8 of 8)
Series: The Attitudes that Bless: The Beatitudes
Terry J. Hallock
The progress from the seventh beatitude, blessing for the peacemakers, to the eighth beatitude, blessing for the persecuted, is obvious. Being a peacemaker by practicing justice and love and living by Kingdom standards brings confrontation with a godless culture that will inevitably result in persecution.
To will God's will is to be different from those who will their own will. This is the way of the cross. God's will runs counter to the will of humanity and it always will. The two are not the same and never will be. Living for righteousness means breaking into time, calling persons to be disciples of Christ, living by His mercy and love. The response of humanity to that call will either be repentance and faith, or violent rejection and persecution of those who hold out the Gospel.
The Gospel of Mark says King Jesus Himself came as the ''suffering servant''. He came among us as one who identified with humanity in its problems but never altered His own relationship with the Father. Because He would not compromise on righteousness He was led to the cross. If we are His disciples - if like Him we are poor in spirit, mournful of our sin, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart and a peacemaker - then, like Jesus, we are on a collision course with the world. We cannot stand for God and lie down with the world. Because we can't it will construct our cross and seek to nail us to it. Yet the very life that makes us an enemy of the world makes us a child of God and a citizen of His Kingdom.
While verse 10 focuses on persecution suffered for upholding righteousness, verses 11 and 12 focus of persecution for identifying with Jesus. One can stand for religious ideals or moral principles and be accepted in a pluralistic and secular culture such as ours. For example, there was positive response in most quarters to Joseph Lieberman's nomin ...
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