Persecution of Christians is Real and Costly

In America our rights to religious liberty and free speech are being undermined. From cake makers to web designers, Christians who follow their biblical convictions are dragged into court and their businesses labeled off-limits. They pay dearly to live out their faith.

This is nothing new. In the first century, the Jesus’ apostles taught His message. The powers of the day “called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus…” (Acts 5:40). Flogging was a public punishment of lashing with a whip or stick across the back. It is considered cruel and unusual today. So the enemies of Jesus are using other ways.

My point is not how bad they are. Jesus said they are simply doing what their spiritual father wants them to do (John 8:44). My point is really a question. How are we to respond? As citizens of this great country, use the court system to uphold your constitutional rights. Many have done so with great success. But now there are thousands of cases requiring a Christian defense.

So how do we respond? Jesus said, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

First, love them. Jesus calls us to a God-sized standard. God loved us while we were His enemies and sent His Son to die for us. Now that’s loving your enemies! Samaritans were considered enemies of the Jews. Jesus tells of a Samaritan that stopped and helped a man beaten and stripped. The good Samaritan gave medical help, clothing, lodging, and paid for him to get well.

Second, pray for them. You cannot change their mind. But God can. You tap the power of God through prayer. Prayer is asking, seeking, and knocking for God’s will and His work to be active in the persecutor. Romans arrested the apostle Paul and chained him to Roman guards. Yet he shared the Gospel of Jesus with them, and even his enemies believed and were saved. Anything’s possible!

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