This is one of the most misinterpreted and misused sayings of the sage Jesus. It has been employed by every charlatan trying to rile of the base that the divine blessing shines on them because they are not happy with their earthly position. Often the charlatan uses the superficial difference in amounts of earthly goods as an indication of persecuted. And how he who wants an excuse for his position eats it up! He must take responsibility for his eating. The charlatan feeds yes. But he who looks to blame others and excuse himself eats. It is like sugar or crack. The hatred of earthly trouble is so natural. The soul-searching to find what I can do to change my own position so distasteful. And the relief found in pointing to something out of my control (until we become stronger than aggress against teh “oppressor”) as the cause.
Let us look at the blessedness of the persecuted for righteousness sake. Let us leave behind the cheap animalistic concern for earthly gold and focus on the persecution of he who has soul-gold–righteousness. How does this come about? Why is he who has acquired righteousness targeted? Why is righteousness the criterion for blessed persecution?
First, why he who has acquired righteousness is targeted. He who has acquired righteousness has minded his own business, his own production, and it is good. I mean all of this spiritually of course. It is that he minds his own business that is the sign of his worthiness for persecution.
Let us recall. The man we are dealing with has noted his lack (poverty of spirit). He has weighed its significance (mourning). He has searched, found and submitted to that which will fill (meekness). He has submitted for so long that his desires have become transformed to longing for the righteousness that will fill (hunger and thirst). He has then patiently dealt with himself and others who are working diligently toward production of righteousness(merciful). The result is an internally cleanliness and purity (like gold refined in the fire). The outward effect so far has been growing calm and good relation (peace).
What would the logical response be to he who is not on this path? Who is he. He is he who recognizes no lack, but in fact takes pleasure in perceived fullness, confidently expects dominance, whose hungers and thirst have not been transformed to righteousness, and whose heart is at best a mixed bag. At this point the difference in the two souls is detectable. The one looks only to his own soul. The other looks only at the other soul and cannot figure (because he does not use the rational capacity but the animal desires) why he is not attended to the way he sees himself. This angers him. The longer he is ignored the hotter his anger.
Given that the anger for the individual is quickly converted into hatred of the class of which the individual is a part, he who desires destruction of another asks and receives. He gets what he wants. He wants aggression and he gets it.
This is no fun for he who has been minding his own business. But it is far worse for the aggressor. Seeking initiated aggression against another is first self-aggression. He who identifies the rational animal as worthy of initiated aggression is already deformed and decomposing before he aggresses against the other. This is the only consolation to the righteous. I do not say that the righteous seeks such consolation, only that it is there logically.
I long for the day when self-destructive aggression decomposes enough to be unable to agress against freedom of association. Then, the righteous will join in peace and become a beacon on a hill. Then, the power that is righteousness and the peace that it brings will be so sought after that the righteous will be permitted to demand conversion before entry. But there is no doubt that from the position of the unrighteous this will be noted and every effort will be made to destroy righteousness. It is like a light on a hill.
Dear reader, mind yourself. I will mind mine. Let it be that we who mind ourselves will find each other and form the community of self-minders. This is what the sage Jesus called the kingdom of the god. This is what Kant called the church of good will. Let us go forward seeking membership of that community first.