Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10
Persecution results from holding an opinion or belief. Oh, not just from holding the belief, but from acting on it.
Beliefs held in secret have no consequences and no reward. Followers of Jesus must act, live out their faith, and be counted on the side of “right.” Christians cannot avoid persecution by the very nature of our source. Jesus knew the price His followers would pay, then and now. For this great price, He promised the highest reward – for them and us.