In Proverbs 6:16-19, God lays out some things that he hates. Two of those things are a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood. When Jesus develops those negatives into positives he says in beatitudes, “blessed are you 25 joy of the lordwhen say all kinds of evil against you falsely. Continuing in this vein of blessing, he continues, “Blessed are those who are persecuted…” (Matthew 5:10-12). When God turns these two negatives into positives he does something a little unexpected. While the lying tongues and the persecuting hands are cursed with God’s hatred, the victims of such actions are blessed by God. God loves the victims who meet unjust abuse at the hands and lips of others. He goes on and says, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”

Rejoicing and celebrating while suffering an injustice is rather a rather unique idea. It’s totally contrary to our natural inclinations. When I suffer injustice or am lied about, my tendency is to defend myself! My ire is raised like a red flag and I demand justice! Entrusting the injustices to God in faith is a difficult thing to do. That’s why it requires the “born again” experience. One can never respond like that in their flesh. It’s only as the Holy Spirit moves us in our lives is such a response possible.

Max Lucado explained the necessity of such a change if we’re to experience the blessings Jesus pronounced in the Sermon on the Mount. He says, “… what Jesus promises is not a gimmick to give you goose bumps nor a mental attitude that has to be pumped up at pep rallies. No, Matthew 5 describes God’s radical reconstruction of the heart. Observe the sequence. First, we recognize we are in need (we’re poor in spirit). Next, we repent of our self-sufficiency (we mourn). We quit calling the shots and surrender control to God (we’re meek). So grateful are we for his presence that we yearn for more of him (we hunger and thirst). As we grow closer to him, we become more like him. We forgive others (we’re merciful). We change our outlook (we’re pure in heart). We love others (we’re peace-makers). We endure injustice (we’re persecuted). It’s no casual shift of attitude. It is a demolition of the old structure and a creation of the new. The more radical the change, the greater the joy. And it’s worth every effort, for this is the joy of God.”