Let's look at the different connotations for persecution: harassment, maltreatment or abuse, bullying, singling out, hounding, harrying, discrimination or intolerance (this one is certainly becoming more evident today); pestering someone in an unkind way. Mean spiritedness is wrong, immoral: an injurious, unfair, or unjust act by one whose conduct inflicts harm without due provocation or just cause.
Let’s call it what it really is ... sin.
We’ve all been at one time or another, the recipient of hateful actions. If we react in a wrong manner, we also become guilty. To help an offender understand that their actions are unacceptable, it's far better to give a firm, truthful, reasonable response, realizing that only God by His Spirit can convict a person of sin.
Know this, too, when we stand up to wrongdoing the offender may pile on even more persecution. It might raise their defensive hackles. Our response is to love them as Christ loves us. It’s not easy, and can only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
Changing our focus from the culprit to Christ frees us to love.
Rather than lashing out and using cutting words wield the weapon of prayer. Weapon? Yes. Prayer is an appropriate weapon and the only weapon God accepts. Any other lowers us to the wrongdoer’s level. There are times when after being slammed and stunned into a state of shock over someone's inappropriate actions, after coming to my senses, I started praying for said person and it freed me to be who God created me to be, instead of shutting me down ... as it often did. I'm a slow learner. *sigh*
In Beth Moore’s book Praying God’s Word, she says, “May God remind us daily that we are loved and empowered by the One who brought the universe into existence with the mere sound of His voice.” Is anything to hard for Him?
If someone continues to use poor judgment in their treatment of us, a wise choice if possible ... avoid interaction with said person. A woman I know, because of her mother-in-law’s hostile actions toward her, stopped going with her husband to visit her. With his blessing I might add. It’s a sad but wise choice. The Lord does not intend that we suffer unnecessary hardship by those who persecute us.
Jesus often slipped away from those who intended to kill Him, to a quiet place to pray.
If, for some reason, God calls you to endure hardship, by all means do so.
At times, He may call us to endure for a season, until he say's "enough". In that case, flee the situation by God’s grace, and rest in His perfect peace.
Some people put on a facade of joy while experiencing deep pain within, and consequently, lash out at others. Internal issues, perhaps jealousy, or guilt, keep them from experiencing true and lasting peace in Christ. They need our prayers, friends.
Changing our focus enables us to let go of pain inflicted on our hearts in order that we live as pleasing sacrifices unto the Lord, and as we allow Him to carry us through those difficult situations to His glory.
You are my love song, Jesus,
You are my life.
Giver of joy, Lord,
In you I delight.
My Savior I love You,
Your grace I receive.
Oh, fill me and use me,
That others may see,
That you, only you, Lord,
Can meet all their needs.
Rom 12:14 ~ "Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse."
1Co 4:12-13 "And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat." MKJV
Another word for entreat – pray!
Lord, minister to those reading this today. Comfort those who need comfort, and convict those who cause undue pain that they might experience true joy and peace, that they might know you more fully. I ask these things in Jesus Name, Amen.
God Bless you Friends ~ Danie Marie