In Matthew-12, Jesus repeatedly insists that there is a reward to persecution -that suffering can result in great blessing. Athletes, like myself, have a saying, “no pain, no gain.” We know that the more the training hurts, the better the outcome will be in our conditioning and performance. This, of course, is not always true. I injured my neck the other day. It hurt a lot. But it will never result in me being a greater athlete. Not all “pain is gain,” Some pain, is just pain.
When Jesus says “blessed are those that are persecuted,” He also requires that they be persecuted “falsely” and “for righteousness.”
Sometimes our “pains” are because of righteousness, leading to reward. Sometimes our suffering teaches us humility and grace, to God's glory. But sometimes we just hurt from bad choices, refuse to learn anything from it, and, to our shame, spend the rest of our lives with a stiff neck.