Handle Hard Times

Handle Hard Times

Matthew 5:10-12

Dr. Jim Denison

In a recent interview, General Norman Schwartzkopf was asked if he thought we should forgive those who helped perpetrate the atrocities of September 11. His answer: “I believe that forgiving them is God’s function. Our job is simply to arrange the meeting.”

Many Americans resonate with his sentiments. Terrorism has come home to our country. New York City is planning now its memorial to those who were murdered nearly a year ago. The most recent defense budget request includes a $48 billion increase with an additional $14 billion supplement to the 2002 budget, both to fight terrorism. Americans know how persecution feels.

Christians always have. Our Lord assumes that his followers will take risks for their faith. This morning he will teach us what to do when Christianity costs us, and when it does not.

Expect persecution

Jesus’ words are literally translated, “Blessed are the ones who have been and now are being persecuted for the sake of righteousness.” He knew his followers would suffer for their commitment to him. And they did.