Galatians 4:21-31 Yikes!
But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. Galatians 4:29
Persecution is a funny thing. Not funny ha ha, but more interesting funny. Persecution differs from place to place and time to time. The persecution in the US now is not what persecution was in the US in the past just as the persecution in Iran now is not what it used to be and what it will be in the future. When I read this verse I thought about whether I am being persecuted or not. My initial note said “We are free and if we are living like Jesus then we will be persecuted. It’s a guarantee. If we aren’t being persecuted then we are probably not living boldly for God.” This is where the yikes comes in. I began to think about whether in my regular life I see any persecution.
I decided to look up the definition of persecute. It says: “To pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religion, race, or beliefs; harass persistently.”
The first thing that popped into my head when I read this definition were my days in Junior High. I was kind of a dork and by kind of I mean, I was a dork. Add to that that I was a fat kid and you get the recipe for harassment. It got so bad that my main bully was a girl. That’s how much of a dork I was. Hardly a day would go by that I didn’t have my books knock down or words said about me or any number of things. It was persistent harassment, but it had nothing to do with my beliefs as far as I know.
That was the worst harassment I have lived through and in retrospect it wasn’t really that bad. It got me to wonder though, have I been harassed persistently for my beliefs? Have I had someone oppress me because of my beliefs? Probably not. I was hoping that the definition would say something like ignored, not invited to things withhold invitations to parties, etc. Those things I could claim but not anything like harassed persistently.
Have you been persecuted for your faith? If so, I commend you for sticking to your faith in the hard times.
Have you never been persecuted? What does this mean? Honestly I don’t know. Christianity is tolerated in the US so it is hard to imagine any major persecution happening (I know it does happen though), but shouldn’t we all be persecuted some if we are living boldly? That’s a tough question to answer and I guess a simple answer is we could all probably live a little more like Christ and a little bolder. That is my prayer this week for sure.