Tag Archives: persecution

Taking the Blame

You didn’t do it.  Do you protest your innocence?  Pass the blame to the person that did?  Or calmly take it, for the sake of the person that did?

1 Peter 2:19-25 (CEV)

19 God will bless you, even if others treat you unfairly for being loyal to him. 20 You don’t gain anything by being punished for some wrong you have done. But God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good. 21 After all, God chose you to suffer as you follow in the footsteps of Christ, who set an example by suffering for you.

22 Christ did not sin
    or ever tell a lie.
23 Although he was abused,
    he never tried to get even.
And when he suffered,
    he made no threats.
Instead, he had faith in God,
    who judges fairly.
24 Christ carried the burden
    of our sins.
He was nailed to the cross,
so that we would stop sinning
    and start living right.
By his cuts and bruises
    you are healed.
25 You had wandered away
    like sheep.
Now you have returned
    to the one
who is your shepherd
    and protector.

This letter is written to encourage the Christians who were suffering and being persecuted for their faith.  Peter acknowledges that they are largely suffering for doing nothing more than following the way that Jesus had shown them.  Their treatment is unfair.  But, he reminds them, they are not the first to suffer unfairly – that is the way that Jesus went – and he really had done nothing wrong – ever!

They are suffering abuse and threats.  What they have to stand firm in, is that Jesus has been there, to the ultimate end.  He did it so that they, and we, know we are not alone.  Whatever we may be subjected to in the name of our faith, Jesus has been there.  His wounds, his scars offer us healing and his presence.

In the UK, we do not suffer for our religion.  Yes we may get the occasional funny look or be challenged, we may even be required to remove a cross as jewellery or a badge, but that is not suffering or persecution.  If we think it is we do a huge disservice to those who truly are suffering for their faith, places where people’s lives are in danger for what they believe.  In fact I think we do more persecuting of one another than we receive from others!

Yet there are things we have done, that we will not be punished for.  They are things we have got wrong, but yet we take no blame, because Jesus, the blameless one, has already done it.  We have wandered, we do deserve punishment, but we are saved from it.  He suffered and died, so that we might know life, freedom, a new hope and a new start.

So perhaps any time we think we’re suffering unjustly and feel like moaning; perhaps we should remember, not the things we haven’t done that we’re being condemned for; but the things we have done that we haven’t taken the blame for – quite a sobering thought.  And then thank God, that Jesus did.  The one who had never done any wrong took the blame of the whole world, of everything I have ever done wrong and offers me forgiveness, life and hope.

Unfailing Love

Forgive me Lord,
when I feel badly done to,
unfairly treated,
wrongly accused;
yet happily accept
not taking the blame
for things I’ve got wrong.

Thank you for Jesus,
who took the blame
for all I’ve done,
took the pain,
the insults,
the abuse
that rightly are mine.

Thank you for forgiveness
for freedom
for love
and for hope,
offered freely to me
at such great cost to you.

I pray for those who truly are persecuted today
for following you,
for safety,
security,
for strength
and hope

Are You Crazy?

Have you ever done something that has made others think you are crazy?

Perhaps you’ve given up a good job, sold your house in a nice area, taken on something that you never thought you would, followed the call of God in your life?

Jesus and the Ruler of Demons

20 Jesus went back home, and once again such a large crowd gathered that there was no chance even to eat. 21 When Jesus’ family heard what he was doing, they thought he was crazy and went to get him under control.

22 Some teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem and said, “This man is under the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons! He is even forcing out demons with the help of Beelzebul.”

23 Jesus told the people to gather around him. Then he spoke to them in riddles and said:

How can Satan force himself out? 24 A nation whose people fight each other won’t last very long. 25 And a family that fights won’t last long either. 26 So if Satan fights against himself, that will be the end of him.

27 How can anyone break into the house of a strong man and steal his things, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can take everything.

28 I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. 29 But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever.

30 Jesus said this because the people were saying that he had an evil spirit in him.

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31 Jesus’ mother and brothers came and stood outside. Then they sent someone with a message for him to come out to them. 32 The crowd that was sitting around Jesus told him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside and want to see you.”

33 Jesus asked, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” 34 Then he looked at the people sitting around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 35 Anyone who obeys God is my brother or sister or mother.”

Jesus’ family heard what he was doing – and they thought he was crazy.  Nice to have some family support!  You would have thought that those who grew up with Jesus might have grasped something of what he was about – but clearly not!  Perhaps they were trying to save him from the danger they could see coming, perhaps they were embarrassed by his association by the family name, who knows, but they wanted him back under control.

The Teachers of the Law wanted him stopped.  They claimed he was under the power of a demon.  What warped logic is that?  How could someone be freeing people of demons in the name of that demon – that makes no sense, as Jesus points out.

Jesus is facing people on all sides who want him to calm down, rein it in, and start to live a normal life.  He’s showing them up, and they don’t like it.

Is that how Christian life is for you?

Are there people who would really rather prefer it if you weren’t a Christian; or if you really must be that you tone it down?  Are there those who accuse you of having got it wrong and want you to return to a “normal” life?

I’ve never know that, but I know some do.  The constant questioning of what you’re doing, why you bother, do you need to, are you crazy?

Does it help to know that Jesus had that too?  Even the Son of God was challenged about living the way he did.

Jesus has invited us to a new way, to be a part of a new family – his family.  We’re not crazy for following him, for trying to live by God’s ways.

Thank you Lord

that in you I find true sense in life;

a purpose

and a reason.

I pray for those who do not see it that way,

that they may find the truth of you.

And for those who are persecuted by others because of their faith,

we pray for your strength and courage,

to continue to stand with you,

and live as part of your family