Punishment vs. Persecution
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
To understand the “bliss” of persecution, it’s important to note the difference between punishment and persecution. Punishment is given by good people for evil deeds. Persecution is meted out by evil people against the good. Therefore, when you are harassed and maltreated because of your commitment to Christ, you can be happy that you are honored to be identified with Him. Paul wrote that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Self-righteousness might earn you punishment, but identification with Christ’s righteousness will get you persecuted. And that’s a badge of honor.