“BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE: FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” To be Christlike is to have our hearts changed in ways that reject some of the very things that the natural world praises. •For example, being MERCIFUL is more than just helping someone. It is helping someone without judgment, without determining first whether they deserve to be helped. •HUNGERING AND THIRSTING for a more spiritual life encourages our hearts to humility and self-denial. •POVERTY OF SPIRIT includes the realization that money and status and attributes of personality are not an answer or an end. •The MOURNING that we might feel for our own frailties and the yielding that results might make no sense to others. •MEEKNESS, the true humility that abandons religious or political or social certitude, can also at times be very upsetting to those we know and love. •PURITY OF HEART that can stand back from the natural world and see individuals as separate from any evolutionary motivation isn’t at first recognizable to those around us. •Being a PEACEMAKER is not always understood or appreciated.
As George MacDonald wrote: “The duty of Christians toward their fellow men and women is to let their light shine, not to force on them their interpretations of God’s designs” (Knowing the Heart of God, 43). This passive righteousness that the beatitudes describe, the Christ-like righteousness, will therefore be the focus of some animosity and some persecution (From Power of Yielding, chapter “Passive Righteousness”)