Jesus talks about the extraordinary life we can live if we will just engage Him. Blessed are those who are persecuted. Sometimes we use this phrase carte blanche in viewing our lives as being persecuted. "I'm having a bad day because I'm being persecuted." But arrogance may often be the reason we are experiencing persecution. We can get wrapped up in our own self-righteousness, so others begin to fight back. Somewhere along the line, we became obsessed with winning and seeing that we are right as Christians and that others are wrong. So, we begin to use political might to push what we think is God's agenda and then we are surprised when those fighting back use politics to retaliate. We can be stubborn and claim that we are being "persecuted" because of our beliefs when often times it is simply our arrogance.
Remembering back a few years ago when he had the privelege of traveling the world, Erwin, for some reason could not recall his experiences in Cambodia. He thinks this may partly have been because there was so much hard stuff to see. Sickness, missing limbs, starvation and hopelessness. As if that wasn't bad enough, he went to see a place called "the Killing Fields", which was a place to remember the thousands of people who were slaughtered. Sometimes, people are the innocent victims of horrible crimes, but even this is not persecution.
In summary, Jesus is not talking about persecution that we deserve, nor is he talking about persecution imposed on us by unjust people. What Jesus is talking about here is the persecution we experience because of our decisions made in love. He wasn't talking about an elusive allegory, He was talking about our lives as well as His own. The end of Jesus' life would itself be the worst persecution of all, but the most beautiful as well. It was a story of love. A story where sacrifice was a privelege for the object of God's love, us.