Christians worldwide have been experiencing a resurgence of targeted violence that leads to bodily injuries, deaths, and unrest.
In an op-ed article, a writer for Anglican Ink used the term “new age of Christian persecution” to describe the hate crimes against Christians in Australia and other countries.
A separate report on the same website noted a call to prayer as church leaders noted a rising number of crimes targeting Christians worldwide. The plea is part of the annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), which falls on Nov. 6, with another day for prayer on Nov. 13. The article bared that the World Evangelical Alliance launched IDOP in 1996.
“The Bible tells us to remember our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for their faith and to share in their sufferings – it’s a question of empathy, of standing together. On this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, we can come together to do just that – to truly count them as family, to stand with them, and to lift our voices with theirs in prayer. Do join us!” the website quoted Paul Robinson, CEO of Release International.
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How Should Christians Respond to Persecution?
With anti-Christian sentiment and violence rising globally, Christians must know precisely how to respond and keep themselves sane and safe. Knowing what to do when one is targeted for being a Christian can be the difference between life and death.
Here are eight tips on how Christians should react to acts of persecution:
Do not be a conformist. People who only have hate towards Christians would try to make them follow their rules and dictate everything that believers do. While it is easier said than done, do your best to ensure that you would not compromise your faith to live by the rules of non-believers. Find fellow Christians and stick with them; there is strength in numbers, especially when you share the same faith. And when you are united, be united in dissent.
Pray for the enemies, even while they persecute you. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” It may sound counter-intuitive since most people tend to fight hate with equal or greater hate. But, if you are genuinely an obedient and faithful Christian, you would do as the Bible says. Praying for your persecutors would not only let you follow the Bible but also give you a peaceful heart.
Seek legal means to assert your rights. According to Acts 25:10-11: “Paul answered: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” This only shows that you should fight for your religious rights through legal means and never resort to violence.
Be wise. There are times when you should not be timid to avoid a potentially heated argument since doing so could only embolden the persecutor. Know when it is time for you to voice out your feelings and defend yourself peacefully through civilized discourse. You should learn how to read the situation and discern when it is safe for you to engage your persecutor in a discussion.
Avoid living a lie. The society where you live may force you to tell them lies or surround yourself with lies so you can conform to their beliefs. A faithful Christian would never give in to such pressure. When you live a lie and tell lies just to please the non-believers, then you run the risk of becoming a non-believer in the end.
Pray that God gives your leaders the wisdom to do what’s right. The Bible tells us that all governments are established by God (Romans 13:1), even if they seem to do things contrary to God’s teachings. Instead of wishing them evil, you should heed God’s word and pray for them. Pray that God would touch their hearts and lead them to do things for the good of the people they lead.
Love your neighbors as you love yourself. You’re most likely familiar with this concept since Christians are taught to “do unto others what you want others to do unto you.” It is the same as saying that “love begets love” and “you reap what you sow.”
Put your complete trust in God. When you subscribe to the fact that God is in control of everything, you need not fear even the cruelest persecution. Like what the apostles and early Christians did, you should find peace knowing that God would not let His people suffer, even if they face bodily harm for their faith.
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