“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
In other words, if people are mad at you because you're telling them the truth, you should be happy...because THEY CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
This is helpful for any Christian. If people are angry with you and attacking you because you're telling them about Jesus, that means you're blessed! Logically, the more angry you make people, the more blessed you are. So if everyone is mad at you all the time, that means you're just about as blessed as someone can get! Right?
There's no question that this theme appears through the whole Bible. Almost everyone in the Bible who tries to deliver a real message from God to people ends up getting in trouble with their neighbors and friends. Meanwhile, the false prophets who tell everyone that life is going to be just great--they're the ones who get fame and fortune. There are a few exceptions, but most of the time, people who tell their friends and neighbors about God get laughed at, thrown in pits, and occasionally killed. So when Jesus says that people who get persecuted are blessed, he's on to something.
Those of us who are trying to follow Jesus really do need to be careful about being too respectable. I've noticed that preachers--whether they're liberal or conservative--tend to preach their most hard-hitting sermons about sins that are going on outside the church. Liberals preach about social justice to people who already believe that we should take care of the poor. Conservatives preach about sex and drugs to people who already believe that they should be faithful to their spouses and never drink. None of it really challenges the people in the church...and so preachers can pretty easily avoid persecution. Wherever you are, you'll find that when you really challenge people to change their lives, you'll make a lot of people mad. So what Jesus says is clearly true.
But at the same time, we're supposed to be changing lives--all of us, not just the preachers. When we tell people about Jesus, the point isn't to make people mad, it's to encourage them to turn to Jesus. If you're only making people mad, then you're not really being persecuted for "Jesus' sake." Persecution is supposed to be a side effect of real ministry--not the only effect of real ministry. So while we shouldn't be afraid of upsetting people, we always need to make sure that we're reaching people at the same time.