Do you remember playing “freeze tag” as a child? After cries of “not it,” someone began chasing everyone else. If he or she touched you, you had to stand frozen in place. Such chasing about was a lot of fun!
But there was another type of chasing that was not fun at all. Did your playground have a bully? Bullies chase others too. But it is not about fun. It is about power. The bully picks a victim. He then chases the victim, or demands lunch money, or does something else unkind. A bully chasing a victim actually helps us understand the last Beatitude.
That’s right, Jesus said in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(NIV) The word persecuted comes from the word meaning “to chase or pursue.” Picture a bully going after a victim.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Jack Phillips. He bakes specialty cakes. In 2012 a customer asked him to bake a cake to honor something against his religious beliefs. He refused. He received threatening phone calls. Then a governmental agency took him to court. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Jack’s favor. Less than a month later, the same agency sued Jack again.* Does it remind you of a bully going after a victim?
We see from this that the last Beatitude is relevant to life today! Blessed are those persecuted because of righteousness.
*”Jack Is Back in Court, Again. Enough Is Enough.” Alliance Defending Freedom, https://adflegal.org/enough-is-enough.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.