This month, our meditation has been a response to an e-mail, warning Christians who stand for their faith to prepare for persecution. This call to Christians brought up a possible progression of the experience of persecution for us as Christians.  How will we prepare?  and... How will we respond?

Progression toward persecution

1)      Ignoring/indifferent/shunning toward:

    a)     You

    b)     Gospel

    c)      You've got your beliefs, and I've got mine

             i)    My god ...

2)      Questioning

    a)     (Genuine interest:  may not reflect persecution intent)

    b)     Word/logic gaming

    c)      Aggressive, to trip you up

    d)     Show YOUR weaknesses

    e)     Avoidance

    f)       Changing subject

    g)     Walking away

3)      Verbal challenging

    a)     Loud voice

    b)     Embarrassment

    c)      Lies about you

    d)     Ruined reputation among acquaintances

    e)     Argumentative

    f)       Ad hominem attacks

    g)     Emotional attacks

    h)     Threatening

            i)      ACLU

           ii)      Lawyer

          iii)      Police

4)      Physical attacks/abuse

    a)     Mob behavior

    b)     Unfocused aggressive reaction

    c)      Focused aggression

    d)     Attack personal/corporate property:

            i)      Car

           ii)      Home

          iii)      Church

    e)     Attack person

    f)       Fisticuffs

    g)     With weapon(s)

             i)     Gun

            ii)     Chemical

           iii)     Rocks, etc.

           iv)     Vehicular attack

           v)      Explosives

          vi)      Knives/blades

    h)     Fire

    i)       Electricity

A moment of introspection:  We have read about, prayed for victims of, and advocated for those Christians beset by, persecution.  Yet did we ever expect to experience persecution first hand?  Please view a brief three-minute video:  Someone recently told me that there is no way to know how we would respond when/if we were ourselves persecuted for our Christian beliefs.  That may be true.  Pastor Wurmbrand of the Voice Of the Martyrs remarked before his death, that it makes no difference to desperately recite the 23rd Psalm while under persecution, torture, etc., unless we have developed a close walk and relationship with the Good Shepherd prior to such persecution.  In John 15:20, Christ talked about the hatred that this world would have for us, when He asked us to "Remember the word that I said to you:  ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."  In the progression, above, it will be helpful to us to develop responses to those ignoring us and the Good News as we are willing to experience/encounter such resistance, for the sake of the Gospel and its spread.  It will be useful to know how to respond to disingenuous questioning or verbal challenges similar to those delineated, above.  Consider, too, how we will respond to physical attacks and abuse from those opposed to Jesus Christ and His gospel message; in those situations, how do we carry our own crosses as Christ carried His?  This is at least part of what is meant when we are called to "count the cost" (Luke 14:25-33).  For many, and increasingly for us (as we live in these end times), there is a cost involved in following Jesus.  What is the cost for us?