The Sermon on the Mount (Continued)

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The Sermon on the Mount (Continued) – 17 October 2006

Matthew 5:10

10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
~ New American Standard Bible

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
~ King James Version

As I wrote in my 12 October Blog, I think that the word “righteousness” is given too narrow an application in some commentaries and in The Amplified Bible, with emphasis only on personal “uprightness and right standing with God.” As I explained, the Greek word for “righteousness” also means “justice.”

Jesus would not have us be self-centered in our pursuit of righteousness and justice. Although it is true that many have been, and continue to be, persecuted for their personal belief in the Lord Jesus, many find that sharing the truth with others invites persecution, also. Opening people’s eyes to a kinder, gentler way of living has always been risky. There are always people who feel threatened by progress and who will do anything to maintain the status quo. They conveniently forget that the “status quo” may have been considered heretical or subversive at one time; and that those who paved the way for the benefits they now enjoy – the visionaries, the prophets, even and especially the Lord Jesus Himself – suffered greatly at the hands of their contemporaries, our present-day ancestors.

Qualifying as a present-day pursuit of righteousness or justice is the on-going struggle of animal advocates to awaken people to the horrific world-wide cruelty of the industries that consider other animals as being “production units,” while lying to the public through mass media – “happy cows,” indeed!!! The Bible quotes Jesus as saying that the devil is the father of lies. (John 8:44)

44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”
~ New American Standard Bible

How can anyone be aware of Galatians 5:22-23 and not make the connection to the wholesale, unnecessary brutality going on?

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
~ New American Standard Bible

To believe that the pursuit of righteousness and justice is limited in the cause of humans only, and that God’s other creatures should be excluded, is self-imposed, self-serving blindness; and so is the persecution of those who seek to enlighten the world to these injustices committed against God’s other creatures. It’s not the persecutors who are going to receive the kingdom of heaven, no matter how much they claim that God’s righteousness and justice is limited to a select group of people. The kingdom of heaven is for those who seek to bring righteousness and justice to the whole of God’s creation.
 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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