22What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

It is tempting to think these things never really happen to us. I think maybe they happen a lot more often than we think and more importantly we do them to others a lot more often than we think. Is goodness really rewarded in your life by the people around you? Do you reward, or even recognize goodness in the people around you?

And when I look around at the people I do not compliments for their goodness often enough, it is almost always those closest to me. I’m ashamed at all guilty of this. I also know the people who hurt me the most are those closest to me. It is all such a shame.

And yet perhaps that is exactly as it should be. We have the highest expectations for those who are close to us and they have the highest expectations of us. We let them down and they let us down and so it goes.So how are we to “leap for joy” in these situations when so much pain and disappointment is going back and forth between the people we love the most?

Perhaps the most important expectation that we must have of ourselves, and that expectation must be extremely high, is the expectation of complete forgiveness. If that is our expectation and it is what we ourselves do, then leaping for joy when we are persecuted becomes entirely possible. If we forgive and forget, why would we be  sad? If we forgive and forget then we are free to be overjoyed when our goodness is not rewarded here on Earth and we can expect a blessing from our Father in heaven.

Lord, help me to leap for joy and receive your blessings, and help me to be your blessing to others!


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