Persecution - how to deal with it?
Have you experienced persecution, for your beliefs, faith, sexual orientation, skin colour, gender, hair colour, opinion? What was it for? How did you deal with it? How would you recommend dealing with i? I am looking for answers from every walk of life!
Yes, I have. I think every person has from one time or another for all the issues you mentioned. Looking at your list, I have experienced it for my beliefs, faith, and ethnicity (skin color?).
My first experience with persecution dealt with my ethnicity. I'm mixed with Caucasian and Asian, and kids would be very critical and bullying starting in pre-teens. I lived in Mississippi at the time with a great majority of the population being black. Because of that, you would think that the persecution would come from the majority. However, it was actually the white kids that didn't "accept" me. They called me every name in the book! Because it was my first experience of persecution, and because I was a kid, it was difficult to deal with. I somewhat withdrew from "white" society during those years, and I clung to the population who accepted and loved me. I also became angry and later dealt with it in violence. Thankfully, I moved from that area when I was 15 and didn't have to deal with that type of persecution any longer. That was in the mid 1970s after racial integration.
I have also been persecuted for my beliefs and faith on many occasions throughout adulthood. In my younger years, I would argue and try to convince others of "my side." However, I learned that didn't work as I matured. Also, my own personal views changed a lot during my adulthood. Now, I try to see other perspectives rather than argue (on most issues... lol). When someone tries to argue with me, I feel it is a waste of my time. Some say it can be "positive debate," though their definition of debate and mine can be totally different. Many who say they are only debating are actually very accusatory, abusive, and manipulative. When I see these signs, I will usually retreat as they are not worth my time or emotions. I would rather take care of myself rather than give them the time of day for their own satisfaction.
As a spiritual person, I expect persecution. But I must differentiate between existential pain and real, personalized persecution. I have experienced both, the former far more than the latter. Following admonitions from several wise spiritual resources, I have concluded the way to cope is to to have great compassion and love the persecutor. There are countless examples of the efficacy of this, from Buddha to Jesus, to Ghandi, MLK, Mandella, etc.
I have a slightly different, but interesting, experience with this: reverse persecution/stereotyping. As a white man living in Thailand with my Asian (non-Thai) wife, we were both searching for teaching jobs during our stay there. While my wife had 8 years of experience teaching English, she always got overlooked because of her skin color. There were several jobs I had to turn down because she could not find a job in the same vicinity. It didn't matter that I had less experience teaching, I was white, thus could get any job I wanted. Several times she was told to her face that she would not be accepted by parents, teachers or anyone else because what she looked like. This was very hard to deal with for us, obviously.
To combat this we pretty much just had to be blunt with those hiring. It's myself AND my wife or neither of us. Sticking to your guns and your beliefs are important in this situation, in my opinion.
"Fools mock, but they shall mourn". The promise we have from following God, is that while yes, we may be persecuted, in the end, we will be exalted. I wouldn't say I've been "persecuted", persay, but rejected, yes. I remember writing these verses in my first area when I was on a mission in Minnesota
"And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you."
Its always hard, but I also try to remember this "...peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."
Course, I think the best reminder I got was a little text to my phone (If you text "Virtue" to 53535 you get little spiritual uplifts and messages to your phone daily) which read "I never said ti would be easy I only said it would be worth it. Jesus"
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