22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. – Luke 6:22-26
A lot comes to mind when considering Christian persecution, so I apologize because I feel like I’m not doing the best job of communicating it well.
As mentioned in the last article, I have thoughts about Christian persecution in the United States. I believe more is coming, and I believe that this is chastisement from God because of failings within Christianity. I understand why that might seem backwards to many and you do not have to agree with me.
The reason I think this is because of scripture and my personal experiences, and I am not unaware of how limited my experiences are. My experiences might reflect a certain area of the nation predominately or people of certain personality traits.
Yet, I do know that these issues are widespread enough to have natural consequences for our nation. We see these consequences. Whether we say these consequences are God or simple cause and effect, we will not escape it, and I believe in a fully sovereign God.
When I think of Christian persecution, my thoughts go first and foremost to our own tendency to be the ones who persecute.
I can look at the above scripture and say, yes. I have experienced this. Not at the hands of unbelievers, but at the hands of other Christians. I know many others have also.
How many have been hated, separated from the company of others, and slandered by other Christians? We do this to our own. We do this between our denominations. We do this within our own families.
How many Christians cannot find a place of acceptance among our various churches because they disagree doctrinally or in some manner of rule and regulation? How many Christians are hurting and unable to find support? How many Christians are on the verge of unbelief because of bad teaching, corrupt leadership, and isolation?
And all the while, many Christians continue to grow in worldly riches, social status, and all comforts of this life. They call themselves “blessed” as they neglect to seek Jesus above Man and as they cast out, accuse, slander, and isolate many of their brethren. Are they blessed, or will they later weep?
They will weep, and I do not delight in this. I do not delight in knowing that many fellow servants will suffer, and I do not delight in the suffering of those who already suffer due to the negligence of our faith.
I once wanted to see it all come down, and not for good reasons. Or at least I struggled with this desire because of resentment and malice. This is one of the reasons I repented of my former ministry and began afresh. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” We need to know what “spirit we are of.” I was also hypocritical considering it was the grace of God that led me out, and I did many of these things myself.
Even so, the facts are the same despite my failings with unjust human emotion and wicked desires. I do not repent of what is true.
Our legalism hurts people. Our self-righteousness hurts people. Our calling evil good and good evil hurts people. Will not God deal with this?
Will the blood of Jesus cover it? I pray so. I am not the judge. I cannot know where judgment ends and mercy begins for Christians who do such things—but I do know this: “We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness in high places.”
My hope is that in the overturning of our corrupt leaders, establishments, and traditions, we will be spared. We will ban together when persecuted, and no more will it matter whether we worship on Saturday or Sunday. No more will it matter if we celebrate holidays. No more will it matter if we use music in our gatherings or not. No more will it matter how long our hair or shirt sleeves are. No more will it matter if we agree or disagree on secondary matters of doctrine.
What will matter is that we trust in Jesus and love one another. That is all that matters. If we put Jesus first, we will see how silly many of our divisive matter are and how harmful.
We will see how we harm people when we neglect the issues of the heart and harp over outer sins. We will see how we harm people when we lay laws on our brethren and attempt to regulate behavior outwardly according to wooden interpretations of scripture.
We will see how we harm people by neglecting the calling we have been called to.
If we worship the world too much as we call evil good and good evil, we won’t see any of this at all because we will be “taken” by the deception of the false prophet and beast system.
I will get no pleasure out of the “woe” that will come on this earth, except that many of my brethren will repent and turn to Jesus more fully. I know He can lead us away from all of this. I know it is hard. I know there is so much information out there and it can be hard to sort it all out. I know there is a lot of pressure from the various churches to conform.
I know there is suffering involved for Christians on the outskirts, but you are not alone. Blessed are you, and to you belongs the Kingdom of Heaven, and to all of our brethren according to the mercy and grace of God that surpasses our understanding.
It is okay to disagree with me because I am not Lord and the only authority I have is to exercise what Jesus gives me as a growing son of God by the adoption of Jesus into the Kingdom of God. Let each person be persuaded in their own mind, as Paul the Apostle wrote. If you find me lacking, pray for me as I do for all who wear the blood and name of Jesus.
This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.