What to do when you’re persecuted

[Notice: I’m on vacation for August. So this month’s devotionals are some favourites from the past few years – and also previews of my upcoming book: “Up! – 313 Devotionals To Help You Start Your Day In A Biblical, Relevant Way.” Enjoy!]

Recently I heard that approximately 215 million Christians experience significant persecution because of their faith. For many, this includes the risk of torture or death.

Because of this I sometimes get asked, “Do you think overt persecution is coming to Canada?”

I honestly think certain kinds of persecution are starting. That may sound crazy to some of you, but just hear me out.

It’s not as harsh as in other parts of the world, but people and organizations are going to face increased marginalization and hostility because of their faith. Medical professionals will be asked to do more and more things they can’t agree to. So will Christian schools and other organizations.

Persecution may not be physical or obvious—but people and groups will get sued, and therefore have to defend themselves in courts with money they don’t have. I’m also guessing that more of us will be criticized, made fun of or excluded from job opportunities and friendships because we believe in Jesus and in biblical teachings.

So what do you do?

First, you need to get used to being different.

Second, you need to thank God for the privilege of bearing Jesus’ name.

Third, you need to humbly yet confidently trust in God’s wisdom and power along with other Christians all over the world.

And last, you need to do this: Retaliate with grace.

In sports, when someone hits or trips you, you’re not supposed to retaliate. Why? Because nine times out of ten the retaliation is what the referee sees!

The same is true with life and faith. When you respond in kind to those who treat you poorly it may feel good, but it doesn’t help them, it doesn’t help the team, and it doesn’t jive with Jesus’ teachings. As the apostle Peter says that “those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (1 Peter 4:19)

Continue. To. Do. Good.

Today I want to encourage you, especially when it’s hard. And even when you deal with hostility or marginalization…

Retaliate with grace.

By Matthew Ruttan

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