This does not refer to God's righteousness, but to suffering for the sake of a righteous cause, suffering because of the righteous judgment and action of Jesus' disciples. In judgment and action those who follow Jesus will be different from the world in renouncing their property, happiness, rights, righteousness, honor, and violence. They will be offensive to the world.
That is why the disciples will be persecuted for righteousness' sake. Not recognition, but rejection will be their reward from the world for their word and deed. It is important that Jesus calls his disciples blessed, not only when they directly confess his name, but also when they suffer for a just cause.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10
Questions to Ponder
What do you think of Bonhoeffer's assertion that disciples will be "offensive to the world"?
Why is it today that the world often seems more indifferent to Christians and the church than offended by them?
In what way is a disciple "blessed" when he or she "suffers for a just cause"?
For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered forever.
They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.... Psalm 112:6-9
Write about a time when you suffered for doing the right thing. Reflect on your feelings about that experience.
Have you ever held back from doing the right thing because you were afraid of rejection or suffering? If so, reflect on how it felt to hold back.
Think of people you know (or know of) who are suffering "for righteousness sake." Pray that they might receive courage and comfort from their faith and that they might prevail.
Prayer for Today
Lord, give me the wisdom to know what is right and make me willing to suffer for a just cause.
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.