“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (New International Version, Matthew 5:44). Recently, I have come into contact with several people who have strong grudges against others who they feel have done them wrong. Some of these relationships are supervisor-employee while others are friendships. At times the haterad has been so strong I had to move away from it.
We often find ourselves praying and asking God to help us in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. However, when God places us in a situation where someone else has caused us harm we sometimes end up hating them, calling them names, etc. I believe this is the time when God is looking for us to love that person regardless of the issue. Luke 6:28 takes it a step further by teaching us to bless those who persecute us. Given that to bless someone means to “make or pronounce holy”, the world would believe we have gone mad. The world’s standard is to rebel or to take vengeance to anyone who causes us harm but as Christians we have a different standard.
My co-workers wonder why I don’t rebel as managers try and pull us down. Some even go as far as to say “If you don’t speak up nothing will ever change.” For me it’s easy why I don’t feel the need to rebel or speak out on every issue. To let them in on my secret I point to John 15:18 where it says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first…” This reminder certainly puts it in perspective, for if they persecuted an innocent man in Jesus Christ, why would they not persecute me or you? Verse 21 adds that we are treated wrongly because the world does not know the one who sent Jesus.
Part of overcoming your persecution is to understand why you are being perscuted. We are Christians, Saints of God, and for that reason alone we will be persecuted. What may be coming against us may not be because we are speaking the word at that moment but if we have proclaimed ourselves to be follows of Christ we will be persecuted. So when you are attacked for whatever reason count it as joy. In Acts 5:40-42, the apostles were called in an flogged for speaking in the name of Jesus. They were ordered not to speak in His name and let go. However, the apostles rejoiced because they were counted worthy of suffering disgrace.
As a Christian what can you do when persecuted? Allow the Holy Spirit to come over you and speak for you. To respond to my friend above, I don’t need to speak because the Holy Spirit will speak for me. “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (New International Version Mark 13:11). If we try and determine what to say we will surly mess it up, but the Holy Spirit does not make mistakes.
The suffering you are enduring at this time may seem like the worst thing in the world. But don’t be downhearted because your situation is not greater than He who will bring you out. As Psalms 30-5 says, “…weeping may stay for the night but rejoicing comes in the morning”!
Have a blessed day!