Persecution means to pursue or chase away. It can be mild or bad enough to flee town (Matthew 20:23). Why did Jesus call the persecuted blessed? How can harassment be blessed? Perhaps 60% of Christians today live in countries with heavy restrictions on religious freedom and a quarter suffer severe mistreatment. How is that blessed? If that abuse is because of righteousness, then we identify with Jesus. If we cherish what is right, if we love God, if we love his Church, we will be hated. We are either on Jesus’ side or not. Persecution for righteousness tells us clearly that we are blessed because we are on God’s side.