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What is a Christian to do when persecuted?
One of the hardest things to do as a Christian (namely because of our sinful nature) is to accept persecution. Should a Christian retaliate and if so when do we retaliate, how much is enough.
We Westerners usually think along the lines of physical persecution when we hear the word persecution, certainly it means that, but it also takes on different forms. One could be persecuted in the sense of being harassed, simply because of their faith in Jesus. Listen to what Jesus says in scripture in Matthew 5:10-12 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Yes I know, sure leaves us scratching our heads asking uh? Jesus says Christians are blessed/happy, He says "be glad and rejoiceâ€¦" Uh? Further down in verse 44 in the same book and chapter Jesus says "pray for those who persecute youâ€¦" This is not our natural inclination, instead we want to strike back! Jesus says "yes, strike back by praying for themâ€¦" In fact His way for Christians to retaliate is "â€¦Being salt of the earthâ€¦" and furthermore calls Christians to be "light of the worldâ€¦" and in fact that those who are Christians and who experience persecution He says "â€¦you sit among the prophets who also were persecuted before youâ€¦" Matthew 5:11.
I think we understand that there are limits and at some point decisions are made for war, to which evangelicals know as a Just War Theory and rightly so. Ethically speaking, the lives of others matter and there becomes a call to protect and in so doing even Christians may have to go to war.
On a smaller scale but real nonetheless Jesus says of His disciples in John 15:18-20 "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
So when someone is on your case for belonging to Christ take it with a grain of salt. Retaliate yes, but the way Jesus said to, â€¦"Be the salt of the earth as well as a lightâ€¦" Remember, it only gets better from here.