A Change of Tide and Our View of the Persecuted
05/22/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – For years, I saw the persecuted as poor and broken souls. They had nothing of material value and, most times, they had been cast out from their communities, unable to work, or lost dear family members as a result of their faith. Scratch a little under the surface to see that not only are they deserving of dignity, but their spiritual roots and relation to the Lord go far deeper than almost anyone I have ever met.
When all is tossed away in your life, there are few things that remain true. For Christians who are persecuted, the one truth that remains is Jesus. In the midst of the deepest pain of their lives, they see the hope that is found in Him. James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).”
When you have the correct view of the persecuted, you see the beauty and courage of the Church as it should be. James isn’t saying that in order to find joy in the Lord you need to be happy and smiling. He is writing to an audience that was in uncertain and frightening times after Stephen’s death. Much like the times we are living in right now, early believers needed perseverance.
Trials lead us to a Godly perspective. The perspective of the persecuted is one that no matter what is thrown at them, they will not turn from Jesus. They’ve found the answer to life and have been rescued. Why do you think the Church is growing the fastest where it’s crushed the hardest?
Romans 1 says that there is mutual encouragement in the Body of Christ. I guarantee you, from my years of persecution ministry, that no matter how much you put in to giving, reading about, or serving the persecuted, you will always receive so much more. The persecuted teach you what real faith is about.
Questions to Consider:
- Do I view the persecuted as poor and broken souls?
- How do I need to change my perspective to view the persecuted as beautiful and courageous?
- What encouragement do I find in the testimonies of the persecuted?
- Do I consider it pure joy when I face trials?
- What biases do I have that may block the right view of the persecuted?
- How do I define a “Godly perspective?”
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