Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you
In my early Christianity, I have not realized that persecution is very a big impact in our lives. I know that there would be persecution but not as tough like these. Before I receive the Grace that God gave to me, I know I have a lot more to face and conquer through his power. Yes! This is a very tiny test since I am living in the Philippines; persecution here is not brutal and hostile.
Old persecutions were very hostile. From verbal harassment to imprisonment, be headed, burnt alive and so many ways of torture because of the spreading and standing of the word of Christ.
According to the Article of Mr. Paul Valley who wrote Christians: The world’s most persecuted people that
“The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians now die every year because of their faith – that is 11 every hour. “
In Pakistan they are suffering in jail for blasphemy . Churches are burned and worshippers regularly slaughtered in Nigeria and Egypt.
In India, thousand were injured nad 50,000 made homeless.
In Burma, Christians are routinely subjected to imprisonment, torture, forced labour and murder.
In China Persecution is increases and in North Korea a quarter of the country’s Christians live in forced labour camps after refusing to join the national cult of Kim Il-Sung.
“Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Maldives all feature in the 10 worst places to be a Christian” According to his Article.
After reading the Article I felt so blessed that I am living in the country of Philippines. We do experiencing War because of Society and religion but not as rascal and hostile like some other part of the world are facing right now.
I want to share to you my struggles along the way being an infant Christian, facing my own verse of persecution.
Persecution is not just all about physical torture, imprisonment, forced labour and murder. The enemy has its own way of trying to deceive us and of destroying our faith.
Because of the Gift of grace my ways became indifferent. My interest in liquor faded. I don’t like to drink more of it and I don’t know why. I used to like it before! I drank and I get drunk and I like the feeling of getting drunk; that crazy euphoric feeling!
But now it taste bitter and I cannot tolerate the taste of it any longer. I do drink sometimes in occasions, just one bottle or two bottles only for blood circulation. I remember one time that I tried to drink and get drunk again forcing myself not to be indifferent and be called boring… and yeah! To tell you honestly I kinda miss that feeling of crazy euphoric but I don’t like it anymore.
I don’t like to go to some crowded party venues anymore. Where people have a free will to have fun depends on their limits. I can’t tolerate crowded places and loud music. I can mingle, share some conversation and eat for a while then leave. I cannot be in a crowded place any longer. I become sluggish.
Even in my own endeavors, they were all shocked that I dedicate to Jesus everything. My work, the relationship to everybody and everything I offer to the Lord. Someone laughed at me as if I’m crazy and told me “Don’t use God as an excuse”
My friends got that weird feeling over me. People asked me what happen. For them I am getting weirder and boring.
I started posting Verses and sharing Christian’s songs in Facebook that I never usually do before. Then it follows on my twitter account and instagram. God become my daily dose of strength, faith and love.
In my advices, I recommend to read bible because everything was in it. But they would not understand, they fear to unravel the holy book.
They saw me not practicing Roman Catholic Traditions. For them, I am dishonoringthe religious tradition and God. For me, it is just tradition and I can’t even find it in the bible then why would I need to follow it? Why is it dishonoring when it is not written?
When I invited them to visit the church and try bible study, they hesitate because they thought I come for conversion.
In their eyes I become weirder, certified weird! In their eyes I become one of them; the crazy people on earth. For them I made the wrong choice and that my faith faded.
Yes! I honestly say my faith in pursuing religious tradition faded but my faith in God increases as I read the bible.
Along the way people mocked me because of the grace that I received. For those who do not know him it was my choice to be a Christian. But for those who knew him, I was given the gift of Grace.
For it is by Grace you have saved; through faith-and this is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God-9 not by works , so that no one boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do
Another wrong standpoint of being a Christian aside from being weird and indifferent is that they expect us to be good as if we have no room for mistakes. One thing I heard when I was not converted was Christians are judgmental people.
They thought also that when you are Christian you can’t enjoy anymore. They thought Christians are all rich and a lot more expectations!
But just like anybody else, we are humans. We got human instinct and attitude. We are sinners and not worthy people but were given the gift of grace. We got mad, angry, selfish, jealous and name anything negative human instinct. We got problems and challenges every day. We face the same temptations just like any body else.
Some of us are poor and some of us are rich.
Some are humble and some are boastful.
Some are wrongdoers and some is consistently following Christ.
Some are rude and some are kind.
Some are nagger and some are polite.
Some loves earthly possession and some are contented.
There are quarrel among us. We stumble and we fall.
Just like in a society, there is variety of people. We are just like that.
But because of his Grace we have the gift of transformation.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
On Easter Sunday our Pastor talks about how to act in holy week. Our pastor told us not to be troubled in holy week for not being too religious because every day is a reminder that God Died for us not just in Holy week. We don’t need to follow traditions but to live with Christ daily: moment to moment not just in Lenten season.
We are strange in so many ways in the eyes of man but not in the sight of God.
Yes! We are peculiar human beings! J