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How Christians Should Respond to Persecution

Pray for their conversion, for you too were once a fool.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

4. Limit. 

When those things fail, there’s nothing wrong with having a government that is a blessing to Christians—we are protected from some such things. Paul was under a corrupt government, but even so, he avoided persecution when he could:

“They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.” Acts 9:24

He also appealed to his Roman citizenship to escape jail.

If you’re in an abusive relationship, you’re not doing yourself or your abuser any good by not allowing government to do its God-given job:

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” Romans 13:3-4

5. Laugh.

The apostles literally rejoiced and sang songs when they were persecuted—this isn’t metaphorical! It’s so important that we show people our peace and joy when we’re persecuted; this is the difference maker:

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12

So what about the bully on the playground? When a bully slaps you on the cheek, offer him your ham sandwich, pray for him, listen to what he’s saying, and if it doesn’t stop, tell the principle.

Do all the above while rejoicing.

Impossible? Yes.

With God? No.  

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Nicholas McDonald is husband to lovely Brenna, father to Owen and Caleb, M.Div student at Gordon Conwell Theological seminary and youth/assistant teaching pastor at Carlisle Congregational Church. He graduated with his Bachelors in Communication from Olivet Nazarene University, studied literature and creative writing at Oxford University, and has spoken internationally at camps, youth retreats, graduations, etc. He blogs about writing, preaching and the arts at www.Scribblepreach.com, which has been featured on The Gospel Coalition, Knowlovelive.org and Challies.com. He currently resides in South Hamilton, MA.