Sunday, October 26, 2014

Can a Christian be persecuted by other Christians?

Can a Christian be persecuted by other Christians?

Matthew 5:11-12
"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

I  have sometimes felt persecuted by what happens to me beyond my control. I think may of us have had this feeling.  Sometimes we throw a pity-party and invite everyone we know to attend...I've done that before and have been less than satisfied with the result. :-)  But if you think about it, there are differences in being persecuted and in being criticized by jealous or insecure people.  Here are my reasons.

1) Persecution needs to come from outside of  the Church.  Hurtful and petty people, often with the best intentions, however misguided and wrong, are within the Church. Jesus has said so...we know this is true.  Paul often had critics from within the body of believers and I don't think he viewed it as being persecuted.  He viewed the people as being disobedient.  Disobedience needs to be dealt with...sometimes from within the congregation and sometimes directly from the Lord.  However, this is not my place, nor my task.  My task is to lift up Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross for everyone to see and to build up the Body of Christ in Love,

2) Persecution cannot come from Christians.  As I mentioned before, it is the nature of human beings to want to be comforted and assured.  It is no different with Christians as it is with non-believers.  In this respect we are just being human. So when we think we are being persecuted, what we really find is that we are just the subject of human beings being human and not letting the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit free reign in their lives.  We need to be grace-full to these people, not judgmental toward them.

3) Persecution is aimed at destruction.  Criticism from within sometimes can seem like it is destructive, especially if you take it personally, but seriously, Criticism actually says more about the people criticizing than it does about the object of their criticism. So instead of being destructive, criticism often is a catalyst for building up rather than tearing down.  Give it over to the Lord and you will see what He can do with it.  In fact, you will rejoice in what He does with it!

So rejoice if you have had critics!  It is by these that the Lord works and strengths us.  Amen and Amen!

Blessings All!