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How to be a Persecuted Christian


Red Square, Moscow Credit: Matt Shalvatis/Flickr/Creative Commons

Red Square, Moscow Credit: Matt Shalvatis/Flickr/Creative Commons

Are you a Christian? If ‘yes’ do you know that you will be persecuted? The Bible is very clear about that “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

“Will be.”

I recently followed the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. And yes, it is dangerous for me to say that, but note that I live in Canada and I don’t want to pick sides in someone else’s argument. What I noticed was that accusers and the accused were like soldiers on the front line, and they could be sacrificed for the benefit of greater powers. I am sure the dispute was more intense because the U.S. was a few weeks away from mid-term elections, at the time. So much was at stake.

I could say more, but I am now in dangerous territory. This is safe for me; I have often traveled to the U.S. and I am always impressed by the large numbers of good people that I meet there. Even the border guards in Montana like to tell jokes. I sincerely hope that they can find their way, and make their great nation everything it should be. This is a neighbor cheering for all of them.

We should know that we live in a world at war, in every nation. There are great powers that spy and connive and fight, and they sacrifice ordinary people for their greater goals. Political debates illustrate how intense the struggles are. And then we have the spiritual side.

The Bible is very clear about this:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

We can see these struggles, and we should know that we will be the target of some sniper, at some time. If we get in the way, we can be squashed like a bug; and we are in the way. Other people get attacked, for many reasons, and we will be also. God has promised.

Looking at the world around us, it is clear that we could use some lessons on how to be persecuted.

In Russia, the religion of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is illegal, and somehow it persists. One writer described their strategies to avoid trouble:

“Some loopholes the believers were able to come up with include:

  • Entering a place of worship or building in pairs or groups of three to avoid unwanted attention.
  • Visiting different homes on different meeting days as it makes it difficult for the government to locate them or track.
  • Having fake food and posing in the name of having a food party as the food is not touched until the end of the event.
  • Since the practicing of this religion is illegal, the worshipers normally download the bible app into their smart phones as even importing this type of bible is illegal.
  • Having translators of the bible from [ ] to avoid a language barrier problem.
  • Having muted services where they will not have praise and worship services or have any noise that may attract unwanted attention.
  • Have vodka nearby to quickly drink just in case the authority shows up they swallow quickly and their breath may make the police believe it is just a gathering of drunkards.”
  • SOURCE: This is what it’s like to be a Jehovah Witness in Russia

I don’t agree with the vodka on the table, and I don’t want to be dishonest about what I do as a Christian, and I am not a Jehovah’s Witness, but it is good to be discreet and adaptable. I believe we will all need to learn that reality, someday. Imagine worshiping in houses and trying to keep the noise down.

Today, millions of Christians are persecuted, in many places. When secular politicians and other religions are attacked, we know that we live in the same world and we can easily be the target. If you want to know what it looks like for Christians to be persecuted, the Islamic Republic of Iran has many examples.

I believe many of us don’t know this part of reality and think it is strange. Seeing the signs all around us, it is safe to prophecy this; “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” We are not far from that reality.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4: 12 to 19)

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