Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Persecution

Attributes of the Persecuted Christians of North America
1: It's their favorite topic of conversation.
2: They have a few friends... who are as persecuted as they are.
3: Their children are usually older, still living at home or have “rebelliously” left and married.
4: They are happiest while debating.
5: “Joy... hmmm... What's that?”
6: If their homechurch has over 30 people in it, there must be something wrong!
7: Pleasure (movies, music, etc) is considered a sin.
8: They dwell on their sinful past instead of the victorious future.
9: They have to control someone.
10: Their favorite Bible verses are probably listed among the following:

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely...

Except the LORD of hosts had left unto a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom... (emphasis theirs)

If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy be ye...

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?
Woe unto you,...! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers... within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

...wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth until life, and few there be that find it.

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Replace the word “all” with “any” and you'll get the idea...)

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

Our pastor was talking about persecution on Sunday and it got me thinking. The Bible says that if we're Christians and living godly lives, we will suffer persecution. How that adds up for me is still a mystery, because although I love God and try to live like it, I've never suffered persecution.
For the record, there are probably some people in North America who are being persecuted. But I believe that most of the Christians in North America who consider themselves persecuted... are not. In all reality, a lot of them bring it on themselves. They forget that, “A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly...” They ignore common courtesy and act like irritating salesman selling their product.

They forget about 1 Corinthians 13...
“Though I speak with the tongues of man and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing... Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth...”

They forget about Jesus and the little children and how He treated sinners.
They don't realize that they are the modern day Pharisees. The ones Jesus referred to as vipers.
We have our religion and ourselves. We have our standards... a long list of do's and don'ts. But while we cast stones at folks that don't follow our list, we don't look down at ourselves.
I speak from experience because I used to be among the 'persecuted'. Now, I'm coming out. I feel free for the first time in all my years. But I have questions.

Yes, we need to be loving, but where do we draw the line? Yes, we need to touch the world, but how can we not allow the world to touch us?
What is worldy?
The Bible says the spiritual judgeth all things... but where do we cross the line into casting stones?

Thoughts, please?

4 comments:

Duncan & Suzanne said...

I don't know if you've ever read them, but I REALLY enjoyed these books "What's so amazing about Grace" and "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Phillip Yancey. Highly recommend them :-)

Treasuries of Joy said...

Hi! Thanks for the comment.

No, I haven't read those books... but the titles sound good. :) One preacher/teacher that has really cleared things up for me is Michael Pearl. But I've still got a longggg ways to go yet!

Blessings! Hi to all.

Emily said...

Girl, I completely agree with you. JESUS is so different than often represented. I had to laugh but found quite funny the jokes about persecuted Christians. Wow.

Emily

Naomi said...

Thank you for the comment, Emily. :-) Glad you found this post interesting. Human nature is often amusing, isn't it?! :-)