Persecution is an extremely attractive tool of manipulation, coercion and solidarity. But it is also a mindset which primarily serve emotions of fear, exclusivity and in turn requires discrimination; all while providing a constant justification for any subsequent action and attitudes defending itself might require.
The nature and conveyance of persecution is one of the simplelist to inspire and claim; given the fact, it only requires finger pointing towards any single individual or larger groups which think or ar motivated in different ways and for different reasons than the belief or group you chose to represent. In other words, as long as there are different people with different beliefs and positions, there will always be claims of persecution. Therefore it is a naturally perpetuating belief set, with no end in sight! Yet such claims serve in no way towards growing or strengthening any formal position or belief within a chosen organization or sub-culture, beyond that of fear, paranoia, and additional prejudice.
So where do feelings of persecution have their place in your own life as an American Christian, or as a person of any chosen faith or even political or social positions of allegiance?
Here is a simple test for those enthralled by the "theology of persecution":
- Does a belief or feeling of being persecuted increase your sense of empathy and sympathy for others who have gone through trials or are not just like you?
- Does a belief or feeling of being persecuted allow you to feel more love for others or less?
- Does a belief or feeling of being persecuted make you feel as if your God is smaller or greater?
- Can you describe the nature of the persecution your faith and beliefs are under while also explaining the nature of God's sovereignty?
To believe in something which causes you to waste energy on a feelings of fear, negativity, prejudice, contempt, righteousness and/or piety is a waste of time. To believe in something that denies God's presence, or implies God's loss of control or intention for his children and his planet, is a waste of time. To believe in something that misses the point of His redeemer, His Son, your Savior and the grace, mercy, love and forgiveness that you have been shown and taught to ALWAYS feel for EVERY living soul and creature on this planet, is a waste of time.
Is your faith increased through your current set of beliefs or do you find it challenged and potentially diminished? Are you the source of your feeling of persecution, or is God? Is fear a result of your version of faith or is it God? Are their numerous contradiction in your current version of faith or cohesion?
If persecution and pride are just a few of your many vices where related to your current version of faith and the theology you feel you are faithfully following, an examination of "your walk", your current spiritual journey, your current perspective on God, grace, atonement, Love and forgiveness might be in order.
No aspect of your faith should be inspired through the balming and fearing of others. No aspect of your faith should be strengthened by feelings of a few of being superior to others whom your are sure hold less knowledge, understanding or faith than your own merits.
Instead your faith should be centered around "the work", a.k.a the change, the improvements its makes in you. And these improvements must include humility, rather than pride. Love, rather than prejudice. Generosity, rather than reservations.
If your faith has convinced you to withdraw from certain aspects of living. Or serves in some manner to separate your group of "believers" from the rest of society, then it has lost any and all relevance or value it might have ever been afforded.
If your faith has convinced you that Science is a lie, that the tolerance or inclusions of others is a bad thing, that equal social and human rights are a privilege for a select few, that you can now distinguish clearly the sin in others lives, while resting assured that your own life amount to less sin than theirs - if any of the delusions has become not only a basis for your feelings of false persecution, but also a basis for your faith in God, then you have placed yourself in a world of very little faith and understanding. You have shrunk you God down to a level of human understanding and human limits rather than elevated him to a level beyond your own limits.
Don't be a person of such little faith... Little understanding... Little vision...
Be a person of HUGE grace... Be a person who is humbled by underserved atonement and forgiveness. Be a sinner, who understand no man or women is without sin, and no sin or amount of them are better, worse, or less than those which you have committed, ignored or sought redemption for in your own life, or the life you have yet to live.
Concern yourself in a faithful sense with one person in this world. With yourself. And work on unconditionally loving others, rather than feeling you have determined something so significant about them, that you now see fit as to whether or not they can be categorized as a person who is as deserving of God's love and Christ Grace as you are.
Such determination are not yours to make... You can only be one thing when you do so, WRONG!