Read Matthew 5:10-12
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. (THE MESSAGE)
It is all too obvious that those who follow Jesus are under attack from those who reckon the Christian faith is either utterly wrong or should be confined to privately held beliefs. Jesus here reminds us that this ought not to surprise us. Jesus’ claim to absolute authority is offensive to many, despite their admiration for some of his other teachings.
But we must not think this final beatitude can be applied to us every time we or other Christians are attacked. Sometimes we are under attack for our admitted hypocrisy. We can be attacked for speaking or acting unwisely even if we claim to speak or act out of commitment to truth. Jesus is not saying you are blessed because you are foolish or harsh. Sometimes, sadly, we bring opposition on ourselves.
So we avoid two possible errors. One is to assume that when we are under attack we must automatically shut up or amend our ways so as to be palatable to the world at large. That is fatal compromise. The other error is to assume that whenever we are attacked we must be doing something right and are therefore going to be blessed. That is fatal arrogance.
The point seems to be that we need to be deeply committed to following not only the truth about Jesus but doing it his way. We will still cop flak; such is the nature of our world and of Jesus’ truth. But we will cop it for being faithful not foolish.