You might… if you are a right-winged Christian, be expecting me to join the ranks of pastors and teachers in Christianity reminding you of all the persecution on Christians in America. But alas, I will not. I will not join the many who say we are persecuted because we believe in Jesus Christ. These are the people clinging to extremes. They believe if we are different, we are judged, punished and/or isolated.
No…but I do feel we alone defeat ourselves with this thinking.
First let’s define it:
Persecution: is a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate people based on their membership in a religious, ethnic, social, or racial group.
Many times we think we suffer persecution because someone changes a rule about how we can go about exercising our religious rights, such as; prayer led by a school teacher at school. We can still pray in school anytime we want to, but a public school teacher/employee of the government is not allowed to direct a prayer during their working hours. Did this mean we can’t have prayer in school? No. But the rule led many to believe that Christians suffered persecution. Some took the suffering on and to a whole new level.
They made it a persecution complex. A persecution complex is the thought, or “group-thought”, that they are victims of persecution where it does not exist.
Here’s my question. If we live in a country free from restraint upon your religious beliefs, why are we all looking to be anybody’s victim? Today in America, persecution is simply a victim mentality. In the incredible country we live, with its rich resources and abundance of community, how can we get tripped up into thinking we are victims of persecution? It doesn’t make sense. Being a victim renders you powerless. It steals the joy from your walk, divides you from the continual gratification of fellowship and positive environment and in essence keeps you from enjoying the abundant life.
Persecution is not a difference of opinion or a difference of belief.
Persecution comes from oppression of those with a difference of opinion and manifests itself as torture, subjection, and pain upon someone or some group to keep them from being who they are. Does that sound like a godly endeavor? The Jews suffered true persecution under Hitler’s rule. But do we in America as Christians, really suffer from governmental persecution? We have the freedom to say whatever we want. We live freely among other religions and practice our beliefs in everyday life. We can go to our own schools, colleges, churches, concerts, group meetings, and gather by the thousands! How is that persecution? We can study, speak and commit our entire lives to our faith freely unobstructed by our laws. How is that being persecuted? Shouldn’t we use this freedom to live as robust examples of God’s abundance, grace and wisdom? Believing we are a persecuted group could keep us divided. It could keep us from enjoying this greatness of the life and time we live in. It could keep us in bondage to negativity and always looking over our shoulder for the next conspiracy. It keeps us living in fear.
Could someone benefit from Christians having a persecution complex? Sure. But who?
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4
Who divided us? Who is hiding the truth from people? The god of this world!The devil doesn’t want you unifying and working towards a cause together. He wants to keep you fighting and victimized. That would definitely keep him from prospering in his goals. Here’s an example of how the devil got the early Church fighting among themselves.
“1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:1-15
Love energizes believing! IF the devil can get us to stop loving each other and start pointing the finger at all our differences, we won’t see signs miracles and wonders. We won’t be examples of God’s greatness in this life. We’ll only see what the devil wants us to see, the negatives! Then…
Where does walking in love come in?
I heard it said once; “When a man is really walking with God, it’s very difficult to find a pigeonhole to put him into.” VP Wierwille
Persecution and a persecution complex puts a leash around your neck. When a group thought is to treat or act in a certain way, against those who think different then you, the individual, are dutifully required to follow suit. Even if that means bullying someone, or persecuting them because they are different. But Paul says, this is not the way to walk in love by faith and stay out of being pigeon holed.
On the other side of the coin, if you believe that because you and your group is different that you are receiving sub-par treatment and persecution, then you start looking at all the bad in your life and how “being different” brought you to this miserable state of being.
We are not victims of this world and our choices, but witnesses to them.
We have a rare opportunity to be the light of the world, the city set high upon the hill, the salt that adds to the flavor of life. We are not victims! We are victors! We are over-comers! We choose life and light and godliness!
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors (super conquerors) through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37
God bless you today!