The definition of persecution is: hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs; oppression. persistent annoyance or harassment.
When I hear of someone who has been persecuted for their faith my ears perk up because I so want to hear how my God has been defended and that my brother or sister has been willing to stand firm and therefore give credence and life to the faith I live for. Is it truly worth it? Is He worth it to me and to others? Usually I associate persecution with physical pain.
There is also a fear that wells up inside of me. Will I be called upon to be persecuted for my faith and will I too stand? Can and will I keep my eyes so fixed on Jesus that all around seems insignificant in comparison.
There are many who are persecuted every day and never feel physical pain. I’m talking about the psychological persecution, the wearing down of ones character as they stand for justice and biblical principles. It’s remaining silent when the media, those around you and yes even those close to you betray and speak ill of you. It’s allowing people to think ill of you without once defending your decisions, actions or words.
Persecution is when your brothers and sisters looking in watch silently, afraid to say too much for fear they will be the next victim of scrutiny. Perhaps we too as brothers and sisters as we remain silent add to the persecution because we are unwilling to stand with our family and say, “we will stand…bring it on…this is a family matter and you have no right to mess with us, we stand together.” Imagine what it would be like if we together did this in the context of injustice and corruption against our “family”, or slander and wrong done against our brothers and sisters. Can we afford to wait until it hits us or should we stand now and what does this look like practically?
Not long ago one of my leadership said to me that I and my teammates are under persecution in the context of where I am ministering and with whom. This surprised me for my understanding of this word was not the definition above. As I pondered this statement however, I have come to believe the validity of it. I’m not embracing it for having arrived to some spiritual plane, but to call it what it is; EVIL which is haunting and stalking. WE MUST STAND TOGETHER or this faith we call our own doesn’t really mean anything.
When I understand that the persecution is not from a person or group or media but from the pit itself which hates us and wants to destroy the one we call our Lord,then it brings perspective and a healthy respect and awareness to the verse,” for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, evil forces of this world…” Those of you reading this,we are all being persecuted in some form or another and some of us stay a safe distance away from our Lord because getting too close means discomfort and sacrifice. It’s time to get close, to feel what He felt, to taste what He tasted and to experience what He experienced. I write this with respect and yes uncertainty for I’m not sure what these words will bring, but I sure want to be about what He is calling me to be and to play my role here to the best of my ability and if that means speaking out against injustice and standing side by side with a brother who is giving of himself for the gospel then I want to do so with quiet knowing that Jesus already won.
I stand with my brothers and sisters in prayer and with firm footing knowing that our foundation is Jesus and that name alone makes the enemy flee. Be active in your stance and position and don’t let mediocrity leave you from experiencing all that Jesus would have you experience and be for His sake…..AMEN!