As a Christian, I haven’t always understood the role persecution would play in my life. I suppose I’ve never experienced real, life-threatening persecution. But the more comfortable I’ve grown in my relationship with Jesus Christ, the more push back I’ve dealt with from others. Jesus reminds me in John 15:20, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
I know that being a follower of Christ brings with it sacrifices and one of those is not being liked and accepted by others at times. I’ve found that the closer I get to living correctly, the more people attack me or accuse me of being too radical for God. I’m comforted by 1 Peter 2:20 which says, “If you suffer for doing good and endure it, this is commendable before God.”
Now, I’d love to confess that I’ve only done good. Of course that is not the case. Like everyone else, I’ve failed… miserably at times. But I’m amazed and discouraged by where the majority of criticism comes from. In my case recently, I’ve received the most backlash and disrespect from an unlikely source… other Christians! Good friends and members of my own extended family have begun to change their attitude around me, to quietly berate me behind my back. I’ve been advised by others who do love me to press on, to keep being who I am and keep serving God to the best of my ability. I’ve taken that advice to heart and am doing just that, but it’s hard. It’s hard to know that we should forgive one another as God forgave us but that doesn’t always happen. And when you’re on the end of not receiving forgiveness or grace, it’s especially difficult. I remind myself that it is Satan’s way of trying to steal my joy in life.
I would love to live a life of mercy towards others when they do wrong. Overall, this experience has taught me how important that really is. So I pray that Christians as a whole should remember where we came from. We should allow those around us to grow without our attempts to tear them down. We should allow each other to fail because we ourselves fail at times. Most importantly, we should show each other love because love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).