While over in Chicago,16 odd years ago, we listened to a sermon by Mike Breaux on the Beatitudes. He used a ladder as a prop. He began with the first Beatitude on the bottom rung. With each Beatitude he moved up a rung. As he got near the top of the ladder he commented that the higher you go, the more people are wishing for you to fall.
Is it small wonder that the 8th Beatitude talks of how we as followers of Christ, living righteously, are treated by the world and, sadly, by other followers of Christ?
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." (Matthew 5:10-11)
Notice that much of this persecution is "spoken". Often the "false accusations - all kinds of evil", is because of the stand that followers of Christ take.
The lesson for us to stand firm. Don't give in to the pressure brought to bear by the world. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us: "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (Hebrews 6:19)
The encouragement for each of us is to not just read the Beatitudes, but to steadfastly put them into practice in our daily lives as followers of Christ. "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
God bless you today, as you worship Him with other followers of Christ.
Mike and Daphne