Wednesday, March 30, 2011
If you had to choose to either be persecuted by the non-Christians at your work or at your school or to be persecuted by the community of professing Christians, which would you choose?
I, for one would choose to be persecuted by the unbelievers.
The Bible talks a lot about persecution from the outside. Not only does the Bible mention it, the Bible promises persecution.
2 Timothy 3:12 "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,"
But, of course, we always apply that verse to people who are being persecuted by the world. Yet, so often in our day there are hundreds of Christians standing up in all sorts of places for the truth against false teachers and heretics, even if their own churches. Yet they are not lifted up like so many are when they are persecuted by the world.
Because anyone who creates conflict in the body must be sinning, they think. No one wants to talk about persecution in the church today, it's not heard of.
No one cares what you've gone through at your old church, no one cares if you stand alone on an essential doctrine. No one wants to deal with issues the right way. And when someone comes along and says that someone is wrong, the Christin community reacts.
"Don't fight, you should have peace with all men. You are the one who is wrong, not the other person. You should live in peace." they say.
If you stand for the truth where it is trampled and scorned on, in a church or in any Christian environment, you will be persecuted. By those professing believers, and it's going to hurt.
I know that for me, I would rather be persecuted a thousand times by the world than by the professing Christians in my church or anywhere else.
Sure people can call me names, cuss me out, do whatever they want to me, but what do I expect? It's the world. Sure people can renounce my God all day when I share my faith. But what do I expect?
I expect nothing of them. They are the world. Nothing they say will hurt me. It will break me and rip me apart because they are so lost in their sins, but I expect it.
In the Christian community you expect to be loved and encouraged by the body, but when you stand for something everything changes. And they turn on you.
The words of hate towards my God by the "Christians" have stuck with me more than anything else has. Those words hurt. They hurt more than I can ever tell you. They hurt more than what any non-Christian has said to me.
The first time I stood for Christ, I was shocked that professing Christians could say such horrible things about my God. After that first time a friend told me, "Count it all joy, count it all joy."
For me, every opportunity I have gotten to stand for the truth, whether I stood alone or not, it was worth it. If it was against the non-Christians or the professing Christians, if it brought me persecution in the end or not, it was always worth it. Those words will never cease to bring me pain, and after all of it, those comforting words from my dear friend come back to me.
"Count it all joy, count it all joy."