“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
PREPARE TO REJOICE!!!
Seriously! Over the past few years we’ve seen salvo after salvo fired over the bow of Western Christians, warning us that Society will no longer tolerate our open involvement in the public arena or the right to any moral convictions that stands in opposition to them. From Christian bakers, photographers, bed and breakfast owners, and florists who refuse to cater to gay wedding and couples to a County Clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage license to gay couples because she didn’t want her name on it and the State would not accommodate her.
And it’s not just the gay agenda issues. Our tax money goes to pay for abortions, regardless of the promises, via the Affordable Care Act (see Sec1303b1Bii of ACA) and the funding of Planned Parenthood (despite claims to the contrary).
We’ve been pushed out of the schools, bullied out of many work places, laughed out of the public discourse, and slowly erased from American History unless Christianity is shown in an oppressive or fanatic light. We’ve been accused of homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, and wanting to silence all who disagree with us.
AND THE FUN IS JUST BEGINNING!!
Understand, we still have it a LOT better than our Christian brothers and sisters in many Islamic ruled countries. Our persecutors haven’t begun cutting our heads off, driving us from our homes, burning us alive, or taking our wives and daughters to be used as sex slaves…yet. And that probably won’t happen here. But you can be sure that businesses already have been closed and more will be. Jobs will be lost, property may be confiscated (or forced to be sold to pay for legal costs and to satisfy reparations in lawsuits), and we will be jailed. BUT REJOICE!
REJOICE! Not because it’s pleasant, but because it’s purposeful. We will be persecuted because HE was persecuted. We will be ridiculed because HE was ridiculed. We will be falsely accused because HE was falsely accused. If we are persecuted because of Him it’s because we belong to Him. He has promised His reward if we endure persecution. He has promised His presence through persecution. He has promised that His name will be glorified in our persecution.
But he has promised persecution! It’s inevitable.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2Timothy 3:12)
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:16-22)
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.” (John 15:18-23)
YOU DO HAVE AN OUT!
If you really want to avoid coming persecution you do have 4 options:
#1. Keep Silent! Don’t take a stand. Don’t be seen. Don’t be heard. When someone applauds the suing of baker or a florist, just keep your mouth shut. If someone posts a meme on Facebook that ridicules something you believe…scroll on down. Tell yourself you’re avoiding an argument and aren’t we supposed to do that.
#2. Pretend it’s all politics anyway. We should be IN the world, but not OF the world. Let the politicians figure it out. Submit to authority. It will all work itself out in the end. We have rights. These are minor inconveniences. It will never get “so bad”. And if does, just cross your fingers behind your back. God knows what’s in your heart even if it doesn’t come out your mouth.
3# Attack those under attack. When you hear people criticizing or ridiculing other Christians for taking a moral stand, join in. This let’s people know your not like “THOSE kind of Christians”. Show how the one being attacked is blowing things out of proportion. We all have a right to make our own personal choices and who’s to say who is right or wrong and you certainly don’t want to judge. (Lori Stanley Roeleveld has a very insightful posting on her blog regarding this. I encourage you to read it. http://loriroeleveld.com)
#4. Throw in the towel. Walk away now while you have a chance. You never really bought all of it anyway. Better to admit it and move on. Why should you have to suffer for something you’re not even sure is really true?
BUT IF YOU JUST CAN’T DO THAT…
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7-7)
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (1Peter 4:12-19).
Speak loudly! Speak boldly! Stand firm! Don’t shrink back! Don’t close your eyes!
And above all…REJOICE!!