June 26, 2011 by Stacy McDonald

Persecution from…Christians?

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I Thank Thee Sire But Thou art making me, I thank Thee, sire.
What Thou hast done and doest Thou know’st well.
And I will help Thee; gently in Thy fire
I will lie burning; on Thy potter’s wheel
I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel.
Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell,
And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.

~ GEORGE MACDONALD

Wow! How many of us respond to sanctification this way? How many of us choose to thank God, the Potter, as we reel in pain while He spins us, molds us, and burns the dross from our lives? And how many of us lie still, trusting that it is out of His great love for us that He allows trials?

God is so good. He is so patient and faithful to us—just like a tender father to his own precious child, He loves us too much to let us wallow in the cotton candy lifestyle we so often prefer. It’s time for the meat. It’s time for us to choose whether or not we’re going to be faithful to the Scriptures when opposition comes—and rest assured, it comes. It’s easy to be faithful when everyone around you lives and believes as you do. But, what happens when you suddenly realize you may have to walk alone?

One thing I’ve learned is that persecution, in its most painful form, often comes from those who claim Christ -  from those closest to us; those we love and trust; those with whom we’ve shared sweet fellowship. That hurts. Martin Luther knew this, William Tyndale knew it, John Calvin knew it, George Whitefield knew it, Jonathan Edwards knew it, and Jesus knew it. We need to know it too. Be ready for it.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God…(2 Timothy 1:8)

Whether persecution comes from strangers, extended family, the government, neighbors, an unsaved spouse, even church family or fellow homeschoolers, know that conflict will come when you attempt to live out Christ without compromise. Be prepared—but also be prepared to praise Him through it. As you remain faithful, God will work mightily  in the midst of your trial. And, if you are afraid that you won’t be faithful, don’t worry! Ask Him and He will create in you a faithful heart, so that He may do that great work in and through you.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. (2 Timothy 3:12–14) [emphasis mine]

Notice, it doesn’t say that “all who call themselves Christians” will suffer persecution; nor does it say “all who live godly” (or “perfectly,” which is impossible) will suffer persecution. It says all who “desire to live godly” will suffer persecution. He is speaking to Believers—redeemed sinners who are seeking to live out the Gospel in their everyday lives. If you go with the flow, you probably won’t face much opposition. But, if you live Christ, then expect at times to be hated, misunderstood, and slandered for His sake.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also… (John 15:20–21)

You aren’t here to please people – just to love and to serve them. Fear God, not man (Luke 12:4-5).

That being said, remember your purpose. Remember not to respond to persecution or conflict “like for like.” We’re to demonstrate grace in the face of trials or persecution so that God is glorified. Bless when reviled; endure when persecuted, entreat when defamed (1 Corinthians 4:12–13).  “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44)

Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. (Luke 6:22)

If we indeed want to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His righteousness, we will emulate Him (Psalm 145:8-9). We will be attacked without being offended; we will be misunderstood without becoming sarcastic; we will be falsely accused without retaliating; we will love without being loved in return. Who can do this? No one. Only Jesus in us. (1 John 4:4-8; 1 Peter 2:20–24)

I fail at this every day.

Oh Lord, help me to reflect your love. Let me decrease, so that you might increase. Help me to speak the truth boldly and without compromise…and in love…without pride. Help me to remember just how small I am compared to You – how helpless I am without You. Help me to extend mercy by comparing myself to Your holiness, rather than to the sins of those around me. And help me to grant them the same grace and mercy I hope to receive from You (Matthew 7:2).

Let us stand boldly for the Truth, compromising nothing; but, let every word we speak, write, or type be conveyed in grace, seasoned with salt, and drenched in genuine humility. You can do it!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“These men are not able to afflict us except for God’s good purpose and by his permission. Let us without retaliation, consider what God has for us in this affliction. And let us humble ourselves, lest we strive with God.” – John Calvin, “The Betrayal” (I’m not sure that this is an actual quote from Calvin, but it is excellent!)

Read a follow up post here: Persecution? Are You Serious?



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11 Responses to “Persecution from…Christians?”

  1. Thank you so much for this article, Stacy. It is a reminder that we need to hear. My husband and I have made changes in our lives over the last year as we become more and more passionate in our pursuit of surrendering every part of our lives and our family to the Lord. The response from relatives and friends in person and on line aren’t always the most supportive. But we have felt the joy and peace of God through it all. Its just hard sometimes when our Christian brothers and sisters don’t understand and give us a hard time. Standing strong through it has brought us to the new place we are in our lives now though…and its an amazing feeling to be on the path that God has called us to be.

    On this journey God gave me the opportunity to get a copy of your book, “Passionate Housewives Desperate for God” and it is really speaking to my heart and life right now. I am passionately pursuing this life as a SAHM/wife and homeschooling mom which is so different than what my relatives and many of my friends do. Its not easy some days but I really love it!

    Thank you for your words. I am about halfway through your book and would love to review it on our blog when I am done if that’s OK with you.

    Praying for you, sister!

    Dancing with my husband at the foot of the Cross,

    Mrs Mary Joy Pershing

  2. Alyssa Carter says:

    Thank you Stacy! I needed to hear this as I get ready to go to God’s house and face this persecution that you are speaking of. My husband and I are being criticized for our belief that children are a blessing from God Almighty, and even though we can’t “afford” them by the world’s standards, we will graciously accept whatever blessings come our way without trying to put limits on God. Thank you again for the encouragement this morning!

  3. orual says:

    What does persecution by other Christians look like? In fact, what does persecution itself look like in America? This is a question I have often thought to myself and would be interested in hearing the answer, because I honestly don’t know.

    I have had people tell me I was stupid for being a Christian, and even yell at me for being a Christian. I have been told that if the interviewer had known I was a Christian that I wouldn’t have been hired. I never took those things for being persecution – perhaps they were – I don’t know. I never felt it was THAT bad, especially considering what other Christians in other countries have to deal with.

  4. Christie Cockrell says:

    Dear Stacy,
    I usually take a rest from most things on our Lord’s Day. In God ‘s Providence I checked my email and received this timely word. Thank you for sharing such truth from your heart. May many receive God’s truth and be strengthened in spirit. The Lord’s blessings be upon you and your family.

  5. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hello Orual – I went ahead and made my response to you a post – since it turned out to be so long.

    http://yoursacredcalling.com/blog/2011/06/persecution-are-you-serious/

  6. Elly McCall says:

    Dear Mrs. McDonald –

    Thank you SO much for this wonderful blog post and its follow up post. I have truly been blessed by your Biblical analysis and encouragement, and I’ll be referring back to this from time to time as needed :)

    I especially appreciate it for this reason: I am somewhat prone to depression when situations like this arise, and often it is the sinful type: self-pity. I truly desire to not fall back into that sin, and this Biblical perspective is just the prescription I needed!

    Another blessing that the Lord has given me is hearing of this quote from Charles Spurgeon: “Brother, if any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” This really helps propel me out of thinking of myself so pridefully! Realizing my own depravity helps humble me, and then points me straight back to the Lord Jesus Christ <3

  7. Just read the book “The Heavenly Man”. He was beaten horribly in prison for being a Christian. He later came to America and was slandered ~ He said this “American Persecution” of being slandered by Christian brothers was just as painful as the beatings in China and worse in some ways because it came from his brothers in Christ. How sad!

  8. Nina says:

    Stacy –
    So eloquent, and so correct.
    Thank you for giving voice to this.
    AND…
    You (and we) are not alone.
    Can I send you a book? Our ministry does training classes for wives entitled, Daughters of Sarah, out of which, “The Respect Dare” was born. We’d love to send you an e-copy or books for a giveaway for your readers.
    Hang in there, Beloved.
    You are beautiful in His sight.
    Nina Roesner

  9. Alethea says:

    This was beautifully written and so true. I often have to remind my children that at times we are called to stand alone, but God is there with us.

  10. Cara Coffey says:

    Yes, this is true. Thank you for an honest and encouraging article.

    I think sometimes, what with all the differences within Christianity as a whole across this Nation, we can forget who we actually war against. It is not flesh and blood, but powers and principalities.

    I hope for a day when the warring within Christianity ceases. I believe it can happen through repentance and forgiveness. The love of Christ is as big as that.

    Until then, there is counting it all joy…..

    In Christ,
    Cara

  11. Dear Stacy,

    Thank you kindly. You have no idea how timely it was for me discover this post on FB at 1:30 a.m. September 6, 2011, especially, was a very “bittersweet” pivotal day for my husband, Alan, and I. I am not ashamed to share with each of you; I have been hurting very deeply.

    Your article “Persecution from…Christians? is an answer to my petitions, cries and pleas before to Our LORD onn 9/6/11. I will never forget this day; I shall count it all joy in Christ for I do “receive the gift!”

    In the richness of His Grace,

    Yolanda

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