“The other day,” I mentioned to Stan one morning, “we were taking about the fifteenth chapter of John and its importance to you and your faith walk.” [Note to reader: See the posting for February 14, 2022, “Remembering the Importance of John 15”.]
“That’s right,” San replied. “What about it?”
“I was reading in that chapter last night” I replied, “and I couldn’t help but see how Jesus was talking about how Christians are going to be hated on account of Him.”
“Yeah,” Stan replied, “there are several places in the Bible where Jesus is recorded as having talked about that. You know the best way to not be hated on account of His name?”
“Don’t be a Christian!” he replied with a smile.
“True,” I said, “but that’s not the way it is. I am a Christian. What am I supposed to do with the people who are going to hate me for that? Am I supposed to just take it lying down?”
“No,” Stan said, “it seems to me that there are several things that can be done, but the one I want to focus on today is to kneel down.”
“Yeah,” Stan replied. “Kneel down and pray for the haters, those who want to persecute you for being a Christian. Purposefully give them to God for Him to handle. I know for a fact that He’s much better at dealing with them than I am.”
I didn’t respond, so he continued. “Just take a look at one of the most notable Christian haters mentioned in the Bible.”
“The apostle Paul,” Stan replied. “Just look what happened to him on the Road to Damascus. He was on his way to persecute Christians because he hated them. I don’t think it’s mentioned in the Bible, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Christians were praying for him as he was on the road and had his life, eternal destination, and name changed by Jesus’ question.”
“What question was that?”
“Jesus asked him, ‘Why are you persecuting Me?’ Seems to me that Jesus was, in essence, asking Paul why he was persecuting the Christians. From that question, Paul, who had been Saul, went on to become a powerful force for building the church, a force that continues today.”
“So,” I said, “when I have the sense of being hated and persecuted because I’m a Christian, I should give those people to God to handle. Is that what you’re saying?”
“That’s it, my friend,” Stan replied. “Give them to God and let Him do what He’s going to do. He’s much better at interrupting people on their Road to Damascus than I am!”
Bible verses to consider:
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. John 15:18.
. . . and you will be hated by all on account of My name. Luke 21:17; Matthew 10:22.
And he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Acts of the Apostles 9:4.
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for so loving the world that you gave Jesus so that all who believe in Him can have life eternally with you. Thank you, too, for those who brought me to the truth (or brought the truth to me) so I could accept your free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption. I was separated from you, but you provided the Way to you. I pray for all who do not know you, for those who are hostile to you and hostile to those who are yours. I lift each one to you and ask that you draw them to you and open them to want to know you, Jesus, and all of the truth and provision you have for them for both sides of eternity. Please, Father, move in their lives to bring them to love as you intend, not to hate as Satan intends. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Are you a Christian who may be hated by the world because it hates Jesus? If so, when you sense hate or persecution merely because you are a Christian, how do you respond to that? Is your response in line with how God would have you respond? If you do not feel any form of persecution for your faith, could that be because there’s nothing to persecute? If you sense the need for any change, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?