“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
An ethical practice survey released in 2017 found that only 26% of professionals believe that doing the right thing is more important than financial gain. The survey also revealed that a quarter of those professionals feared reprisals at work for reporting unethical behavior.
Growing up, your parents probably taught you some version of “do the right thing.” Remember the Golden Rule. Be kind. Compassionate. Care about others. As we grow up, often our self-interest trumps what we believed in our younger years. Society seems much more gray than we were led to believe, and doing the right thing is not only hard, it sometimes gets us into trouble.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:10 that those who are persecuted for doing the right thing are blessed by God. Verse 12 also reminds us that our true reward isn’t the approval of our fellow man; we’ll instead receive it in heaven.
Doing the right thing is difficult. We can look at all of the celebrities and their misconduct, which fills the news and social media daily. Political scandals. Sex scandals. Financial scandals. They’re everywhere! Is it really so hard to do the right thing? To live an upstanding life? Without Jesus, yes, it is. And with Jesus… yes, it is. It’s our nature—our sin nature—to stray from God. To go our own way and in our disobedience to uproot our lives and the lives of those around us.
In Christ, though, we can do the right thing. When we listen to Him, and obey His Word, we can live a life distinctly different. Not a life of scandal, but a life of sanctification. That’s a fancy church word that means “set apart for God’s purpose.” Imagine a life lived in that way. One in which you are so in tune with Jesus that you are literally set apart from the world’s ways as you follow God’s ways. The Bible reminds us it won’t be easy, but as we pursue this life, we will be blessed and rewarded in the one way that really matters.
God, help me to follow your Word, even when it is difficult. When I want to go my own way, remind me that your way and your will are worth it. When I suffer because I’m following you, use my life to be an example to others that I won’t back down from Your Word when things get tough. In Jesus’ name, Amen.