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them which persecute you: bless and curse not."
There has been much concern
in the world about the persecution towards people of various
faiths. The issue has recently focused on the persecution of
Christians, although closer scrutiny would reveal that many
claiming to be Christian are not.
Over the last few weeks
there have been many messages and articles circulating among
Christians which express these concerns about religious
persecution. In response to these messages there has also been
research revealing the true motives behind these articles and
messages. Among the information is the push for American
legislation to protect Christians from persecution. The names
behind the push for legislation are well-known "religious
right" leaders, many of whom are also involved in behind
the scenes groups forming world alliances for peace. All is
not as it seems.
On Sunday, November, 15,
1998 many of these same leaders promoted and took part in an
the ecumenically minded International Day of Prayer for the
Persecuted Church, which was originally initiated in 1996 by
the World Evangelical Fellowship.
On another front,
persecution was reported regarding Christian websites being
dumped or dealt with differently on such search engines as
AOL, or Geo-cities. I couldn't help but wonder at the
responses to all these issues. Christians, from leadership to
lay person, are responding with indignation and wrath towards
those that persecute or cause us inconvenience in any form.
The rallying cry becomes unite; fight; we have our rights too;
and stop the persecution against Christians. Some would go so
far as to rally to arms, depending on the depths of
persecution being suffered.
Religious leaders such as
James Dobson and Chuck Colson are appalled at the
"apathy" they feel is being displayed from
"Christians" regarding this matter. They seem to
feel Christians are failing in their duties if they do not
protest vigorously against various atrocities and
persecutions. These leaders see these acts of persecution as
offensive and contrary to their goal of world peace and the
world's acceptance of Christianity. They also want people to
take political action in some form. Christians are therefore
looked down upon because they have not embraced and fulfilled
the expectations and actions these men have put forth. For
Chuck Colson See: Evangelicals
and Catholics Together
What is disturbing is the
attitudes displayed by the many religious leaders such as
James Dobson. According to one report Dr. Dobson's April 1997
newsletter lavished all manner of praise on the efforts of CFR
agents, A.M Rosenthal, Michael Horowitz & Nina Shea on
behalf of persecuted Christians while expressing contempt for
Christian churches which he believes could care less about
their own martyrs:
"It isn't just our
spiritual leaders who have denied the tragedy. Who can
explain the lack of outrage evident among so many Christian
churches in Western democracies?"
The ecumenical nature of the
rallying cry also comes through many leaders like James Dobson
who applaud such people as A.M. Rosenthal, a non-Christian,
who also decried this "apathy" in his column in The
New York Times. He wrote:
"A few clergymen and
their religious organizations try to arouse congregations.
But astonishingly few, compared not only with the spread of
the persecution, but what could be done to fight it, if the
political, religious, business and press leaders of the
world had the will and courage. "If I were a Christian,
I would complain that Christian leaders, political,
religious and business, around the world have failed in
their obligations to fight oppression of their
The whole evaluation of
whether these people view us as caring about others seems to
rest on our outward expression of political involvement or
stated outrage. Failure to express these leads to their
contempt or anger for not listening to their course of action.
"Recompense no man
evil for evil..."
1 Peter 2:1
aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and
envies, and all evil speakings,"
"But I say unto you,
That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause
shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosover shall say
to his brother, Ra-ca, shall be in danger of the council:
but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of
Should we be rallying,
protesting and demanding the State or the United Nations
intervene to write and enforce laws that "may" stop
persecution towards us? Can measures like this actually
provide the peace that is desired? Can that remove unwarranted
persecution against Christians and whoever appears to take the
brunt of hate and persecution in a particular situation or
country? God's Word always provides the sound insights
regarding this and any matter that has to do with living for
The Bible speaks of the
attitude and responses Jesus taught we are to have towards
"Blessed are they
which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile
you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil
against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding
glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted
they the prophets which were before you."
"But I say unto you,
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to
them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use
you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your
Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on
the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and
1 Peter 4:12-14,16
"Beloved, think it
not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,
as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice,
inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that,
when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with
exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,
happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth
upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your
part he is glorified... Yet if any man suffer as a
Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God
on this behalf."
Some say that it is wrong to
allow people to be killed, tortured, ridiculed or persecuted
in any way for their beliefs. Christians, however, have a
clear course for understanding persecution. We are not to view
persecution as wrong or something to be feared. We are to view
it as part of God's plan for our lives, and to count it a
blessing to suffer for our Lord. Jesus and the apostles wrote
these guidelines for us out of their own experiences of being
persecuted. We can trust that they truly knew the depths of
persecution and the significance it plays in a persons life.
Jesus by far underwent
persecution far above anyone else. His response is noteworthy
and clearly something to be remembered, as the servants are
not above the Master.
John 18:35-36 we read
in verse 35
"Pilate answered, Am
I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have
delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?"
36. Jesus answered, My
kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this
world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be
delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from
Jesus is speaking in:
" If the world hate
you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye
were of the world, the world would love his own: but because
ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the
world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word
that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his
lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute
you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name's
sake, because they know not Him that sent me."
"These things I have
spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the
world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I
have overcome the world."
Paul is speaking:
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
"We are troubled on
every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in
despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not
destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the
Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made
manifest in our body."
1 Corinthians 4:9-14
"For I think that God
hath set forth us as the apostles last, as it were appointed
to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to
angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye
are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are
honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour
we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted,
and have no certain dwelling place; And labour, working with
our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we
suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made filth of
the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this
day. I write not these things to shame you, but as my
beloved sons I warn you."
Jesus clearly stated that we
would not only be persecuted and hated for His Name, but that
we should expect it. If we are not being persecuted in some
form, but rather loved by the world, it should be cause for
alarm as to whom our hearts belong to. We are told that even
if we suffer much, we must endure to the end. To endure means
to have the power to put up with, or bear pain or hardship for
the duration--until the end. It means that if we love the Lord
Jesus Christ, we will rest in Him regardless of circumstances,
easy or difficult.
"And ye shall be
hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to
the end shall be saved."
" And ye shall be
hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall
endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
"Woe unto you, when
all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to
the false prophets."
When we come face to face
with persecution, we are to deal with it in a certain manner.
If we are being obedient to God's word, we will prayerfully be
prepared for that time. God promises He will be with us and
provide the needed responses and will sustain us. We must
choose whether we are going to respond with our trust and
obedience in Him or not.
"But I say unto you
which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate
you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the
one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy
cloke forbid not to take thy coat also."
"But before all
these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you,
delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being
brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it
shall turn to you for a testimony.
"Settle it therefore
in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your
adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye
shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and
kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to
be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my
name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head
perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."
Some are deeply offended and
angry when persecution takes place. The reaction is to
retaliate in one way or another. They desire their
"rights" and are not willing to lose any of their
"possessions", but would rather rally and try to
force some confrontation with the issue, and obtain what they
feel are their just dues. Some seem to feel that to suffer in
any manner goes against being a Christian. Many want to be
accepted and treated the same as non-believers. We are not the
same. We belong to God.
If we become offended or
retaliate, we are being disobedient. These actions can also
point to something more than just disobedience, maybe also a
turning away from God.
"But he that received
the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the
word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root
in himself, but dureth for awhile: for when tribulation or
persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is
The Bible speaks of the end
times and how Christians will indeed be persecuted. Jesus
Christ our Lord was persecuted as were the apostles and those
who followed Christ throughout the ages. Things have not
changed, nor are we better than they were. We know that when
persecutions come, it can happen through people we know, and
sadly also through relatives. The Bible speaks about the fact
that many will fall away because of tribulations and
persecution because they have not been grounded in the Word
and faith in Him. Through all these trials we must not be
dissuaded from our beliefs and obedience to the word of God.
"Then shall they
deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye
shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then
shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and
shall hate one another."
"And these are they
likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have
heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And
have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time:
afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the
word's sake, immediately they are offended."
"To them who by
patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour
and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are
contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey
unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and
anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew
first, and also of the Gentile."
Jesus prayed for the
apostles and all believers in this way in John 17.
"I have given them
thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are
not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not
that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that
thou shouldest keep them from evil. They are not of the
world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through
thy truth: thy word is truth."
Luke 12: 4-5
"And I say unto you
my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and
after that have no more that they can do. But I will
forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after he
hath killed hath power to cast into hell: yea I say unto
you, Fear Him."
Many are using the rallying
cry of "Peace" to try to stop persecution. We know
that there can be no peace on this earth, nor can we intervene
or stop the persecution by legislating away what God Himself
tells us to expect and rejoice in. To promote otherwise, is to
teach things that are not scriptural, and to lead people with
a lie. Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries said this.
Christians need to make it clear we will not tolerate
"peace" paid for by the suffering of our brothers
and sisters in Christ."
"There is no peace,
saith the Lord, unto the wicked."
"Think not that I am
come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a
"Suppose ye that I am
come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather
because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and
there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others
daubed it with untempered mortar."
"They have healed
also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly saying,
Peace, peace; when there is no peace."
We know that our time on
earth is not long. Eternity is what we are to look to. We are
not to have an attitude of resentment or hate towards
persecution or those that dispense it. We know that God is
with us and in the end, will deal justly with all.
We are to stay committed to
Him and obedient. We are to remember that those that reject
Him, will be lost forever. Those that persecute us must be
prayed for: by doing so, opportunity may come for that person
to realize, just as Paul did, that they are persecuting those
who belong to God. God may allow them time to repent, but it
is in His hands. If opportunity is provided we must speak
whatever God would have us speak, and perhaps through that,
some might be saved. We must not avenge ourselves, but pray
for those that are lost. We must also pray that all that
belong to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will be
strengthened, and that we will all trust in Him to enable us
to endure to the end.
avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for
it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the
"Praying always with
all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching
there unto with all perseverance and supplication for the
"Be careful for
nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall
keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1: 27-29
"Only let your
conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that
whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of
your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one
mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in
nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an
evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and
that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of
Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for
We will never be abandoned
in our time of need. It would be pointless to think that man
can change what God has allowed and put in motion. He promises
He will never leave nor forsake us. He also promises to
provide all that is necessary to stay the course and encourage
our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are one in the Body of
Christ. We suffer and ache when we hear our brothers and
sisters are persecuted and suffering, just as we rejoice with
them, when we hear of them rejoicing. To suggest we feel less,
shows lack of knowledge and understanding of the nature of the
Body of Christ.
"Remember them that
are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer
adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."
The issue is not how to stop
persecution. The issue is recognizing that persecution will
indeed happen if we belong to Him. That understanding leads to
depending on Him as to how we deal with those circumstances
and allowing Christ to be glorified through it all... or not.
" I will not leave
you comfortless: I will come to you."
2 Corinthians 1:3- 7
"Blessed be God, even
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies,
and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our
tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are
in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are
comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in
us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether
we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation,
which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings
which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for
"So that we may
boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what
man shall do unto me."
1 Peter 3: 13-15
"And who is he that
will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But
and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and
be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. But
sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to
give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the
hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good
conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of
evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good
conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God
be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil
Quotes taken from the Authorized King James Bible
Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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