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Persecution is Real. We Need Unity, Not Comparison

I’ve seen sincere Christians argue over the silliest things. From “You’re not persecuted, look at what THOSE people are going through,” to “You don’t worship as I do, so you must not be right,” to arguments over holidays, Christ followers can find the silliest things to be divided over. Christ calls us to unity. And yes, persecution exists, even if it doesn’t exist in the same way in all places. I’ve seen families divided over the Gospel, I’ve been censored over things that have not been popular, but have been biblical, and have had many people spread false things about me my entire ministry. Here in the US, I’ve known people who have been spit on, shot at, arrested (there was a man in Philadelphia who was arrested for reading the Bible on a public bench, and a young man arrested for street preaching during an event where people found it offensive, just to name two recent incidents), shops have been told they couldn’t play slides of Bible verses on their screens, Christians have been cited or arrested for praying in public, Government agents (the FBI and SWAT teams in two incidents recently) have come to Christian homes in the US.


It may not be the same as persecution in countries where Christianity is illegal, but it still is. I was reading 1 Peter this morning, where Peter said that we should take heart in EVERY persecution, rejoicing because brothers and sisters the world over are experiencing the same thing. Just because they are not the same intensity does not mean that Satan is not using people to try and dissuade us from following the Gospel. We don’t need comparisons, we need unity. The body of Christ is not divided, but should be united in intent and purposes. Loved ones, stop comparing hurts and saying “because they’re hurting worse, you cannot be persecuted.” Stop letting the world divide us with petty arguments. Lines were drawn before the foundation of the world, and we’re either for Christ or against Him. There are no denominations in heaven, no divisions, just unity in Christ. Shouldn’t we, who are here on this side of the veil seek the same unity? Remember the words of Augustine of Hippo “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love.”

 

1 Peter 4:12-5:11

 

 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

 

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

 

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

 

5  So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.






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