Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 | NIV)
You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
(Matthew 5:10 | The Message)
Most of us have no idea what it really looks like to be persecuted. We’ve all experienced bullies and jerks. We’ve all face insults and passive aggressiveness. But real persecution is deeper than that. Persecution arises out of fear and a lack of understanding. We fear that which we don’t understand. We cannot love that which we fear.
One of the most misunderstood types on the Enneagram is Type 5 – the Observer or Investigator. Fives have a deep inner commitment to truth and knowledge. They would rather sit back and people watch than actually engage in social interactions. They read the Encyclopedia for fun as kids. They are typically the type of people who know a little bit about everything and everything about something. The pursuit of knowledge and insight takes a high priority in their lives, to the point that they can seem aloof or standoffish. They tend to act more introverted than most other Types.
As such, they can be hard to relate to. They may be able to talk your ear off about differentials or automatic transmissions, but might not be up to date on the latest Marvel movies.
They are passionate about getting things right and doing things right. When they gain interest in a subject, they tend to go all in. They can be some of the best researchers, scientists, and engineers. But they might not be the “best” spouse, friend, or coworker. This can lead to ostracism and misunderstanding.
And we fear that which we don’t understand. We cannot love that which we fear. We mistreat that which we do not love.
Fives can feel persecuted because of their beliefs, values, and hoard of knowledge. They can feel left out, excluded, and unwelcome. That is…if they ever admit to these feelings.
An example of a Five in Scripture facing some level of persecution is Nicodemus. He appears three times in John’s Gospel. First he has a nighttime conversation with Jesus in which Jesus challenged everything he thought he knew about God. The second time we see him, Nicodemus is standing up for Jesus, pointing out that their own law prohibits the leaders from arresting Jesus without cause. They all turn on him and begin to ridicule him – even though he was simply stating facts, using his knowledge of the law to defend Jesus.
People don’t really like know-it-alls. That’s the boat most Fives find themselves in more often than we realize.
It’s important for all of us to do a better job getting to know one another. You cannot love your neighbor if you are afraid of them. You cannot overcome your fear of them if you don’t take the time to know and understand them. That’s what we all want, really – to know and to be known; to love and to be loved. And that’s what the kingdom of heaven is all about.
Do you know any Fives in your life? How might their knowledge come into conflict with their relationships?
What is our typical response when someone else points out where we’ve gone wrong? Even though they’re right, why do we react negatively?
Is there a person or group of people you’re afraid to get to know? Why? What steps can you take this week to reach out to them?