Christians persecuting Christians?
History tells us of how Christians have suffered persecution because of their faith at the hands of the Romans, Jews, Islamic terrorists, and different sects. The persecution of Christian dates to the first century and sadly, it is still going on today. Regrettably, this persecution of Christians exists even among Christians.
Christians persecute other Christians in many ways and the internet has become one relentless weapon for these attacks because the internet allows the attacker to hide behind a computer screen or mobile device unidentified and untraceable. What we are referring to here is not merely a discussion or differences of opinions between Christians. What we are referring to is direct and personal hostile attacks on other Christians with name-calling, accusations, and even threats.
If you are a Christian and have been hurt by the attack of another Christian for what you believe in, then you are not alone. Nothing brings more heated and passionate arguments than the topic of religion and politics. However, we are not going to talk about politics here, well, not exactly. We are not going to talk about atheists attacking Christians or other religions attacking Christianity either. What we are going to talk about is people that profess to be Christians and, in their self-righteousness and arrogance go about hatefully attacking other believers because of what they believe.
Why do Christians persecute other Christians?
There could be many reasons why some Christians attack other Christians. Many of these self-professed Christians who persecute other Christians suffer from either sinful pride, hate, jealousy, mental illness, or have too much bible knowledge but lack spiritual understanding of the Word of God.
Or perhaps the only reason for this persecution is because these self-professed Christians are not saved and think they are. Just because they attend church, have religious knowledge or celebrate religious holidays does not mean they are saved.
If you are a Christian who believes in the Darwinian evolutionary theory, maybe it is due to the primate DNA in our genes still struggling for the survival of the fittest.
Conveniently, human emotions have become Satan’s playground for his purpose, and we must remember that. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Whatever the reason(s) behind this persecution, it has divided the body of Christ and it must stop because one cannot claim to love God and then act in such a hateful manner towards another believer. 1 John 4:20 says, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Christians do not have all the answers
Understandably, not everyone is going to agree with what others believe, say or write; it is their prerogative and most of us do not have a problem with that. It is the way people approach others that is the problem. Their approach can define who they are. Some may believe, in their self-righteousness, they are “correcting” other Christians, but there is a difference between correcting and attacking.
Those who follow Jesus do not have all the answers; we are not meant to, not yet anyway. And many have had to relearn what we were erroneously taught about the Word of God. In spite of what many hostile self-professed Christians believe, they do not have all the answers either.
Christians that go around correcting other Christians many times are not justified in doing so. The Bible does warn us of false prophets in sheep’s clothing and instructs us not to have fellowship with the works of darkness and to reprove them. You will find the warnings in many verses (Romans 16:17-18, Ephesians 5:11, Colossians 2:8, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Galatians 1:6-9, 1 John 4:1, Matthew 7:15, 1 Timothy 5:20, Jude 1:4, Ephesians 5:6-13 , 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 2 John 1:10, 2 Peter 2:1, Acts 20:29, Matthew 7:15-20, 2 Peter 2:1-6, 2 John 1:7).
And 2 John 1:7-10 speaks of many deceivers and what they confessed. “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
However, these verses were not meant to be used carelessly as a weapon against other believers. These verses are meant to warn and protect Christians against the devils' work. If a believer is not going against Jesus Christ’s doctrine, why do some Christians feel the need to tear down other Christians?
Are these Christians you feel the need to correct proclaiming another gospel? Are they teaching against the deity of Jesus Christ? Are they denying that Jesus Christ came in the flesh? Are they denying Jesus Christ’s virgin birth and His sinless life? Are they redefining Jesus? Denying His crucifixion and resurrection? Teaching that there are many paths to God? Teaching against salvation by grace through faith? Or are they teaching against YOUR interpretation of the Bible?
There is a difference between false doctrine and denominational disagreements. Let us not get carried away with calling other Christians false teachers or accuse them of not being a Christian because their understanding of the Word differs from yours. This is not an excuse to attack another Christian. You may feel you are doing God’s work by attacking another Christian, but you are not. You are only exposing who you really are.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus talks about false disciples “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Christians should refrain from making unjust accusations or calling other Christians false teachers if they are not, or they, in turn, will be judged as false disciples.
How should a Christian react when attacked by another Christian?
When a Christian approaches another believer in a hostile and unchristian way because he or she feels the other Christian needs “correction,” the proper thing to do is first listen then stop to think about how you will respond. If you are like many, you will probably be tempted to snap back and give that person a good dose of their own medicine but that would not be the Christian way to handle opposition.
It is preferable not to engage in arguments when someone directs negative or accusing remarks at another believer, whether it was because of something that was said or written. This would defeat the purpose of what we, as true believers in Christ, should achieve, which is to spread the Word of God. Arguing would only bring us down to their level. Simply do not engage or reply and ignore the attacker. It takes more courage to walk away than to fight.
Do not take the devil’s bait!
We have all made mistakes in the past in the way we have reacted to an attack by another Christian; the Lord knows our weaknesses but so does the devil, and he uses those weaknesses to his advantage. The lessons and convictions that follow, even if we feel we have been right, should teach us to rethink before acting on impulse.
Christians at the front-line spreading the Word of God are more at risk of persecution. For example, it is very common for Christian writers to receive opposing and sometimes offensive and accusing comments about their writings. If you are a Christian writer and receive a hostile e-mail or comment from another Christian, like “you are not writing in TRUTH!” or “you are NOT a Christian!” keep your calm. Although tempting, do not snap back and say “Really? And where do you get your truth from? The Book of Morons?!’ or “Ha! Maybe not by YOUR definition of a Christian!” It may make you feel good for a little while, but God will convict you later.
Again, carefully consider how you would respond. If it will create discord and arguments, you have the option of not replying or accepting the comment. You do not want to confirm their accusations of you by engaging in their attacks. Simply do not take the devil’s bait. Would you not rather spend your time exhorting and edifying others than trying to tear these people down like they tried to do with you?
Now, if they approach you in a respectful manner, you can then ask him or her to elaborate upon their disagreement. Ask if the disagreement is in everything you wrote, or in a specific area? If they provide you with a reference, you should then research their claim in the Bible, not in other writings, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to the truth. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide and the only one we should listen to, not the voice of Satan in disguise. Satan’s only purpose is to lead people away from Jesus with discord, war, sickness, calamity, and other weapons.
Who is really behind all the hate and accusations?
Fighting among the brethren is not new. History is filled with violence and wars because of religion. The Bible speaks about how the Apostle Paul encountered much opposition, bickering, and erroneous beliefs in his time. He was grieved and at times frustrated, but he handled it in a peaceful loving way in his epistles.
In Matthew 24:1-2, Jesus prophesized the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans, and in A.D. 70, His prophecy came to pass. Instead of the Jews unifying, there was much discord between the peace-loving Jews and the zealots that solved nothing and only ended in death and destruction at the hands of the Romans.
Most importantly, let us not forget how God’s own people rejected Jesus, and wrongfully accused Him of many things. There was much division in God’s people and Jesus and His disciples suffered at their hands. The religious scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees continually harassed and accused Jesus of blasphemy, of working with Beelzebul, and much more. Jesus called His accusers a generation of vipers and warned them of what will happen to them.
Matthew 12:34-37 (KJV)
“34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
But Jesus knew who was really behind the accusations and lies. Who is called the accuser of the brethren in the bible? Revelation 12:10 says Satan is the accuser.
And who is our justifier? Romans 8:33 says “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.”
Therefore, a warning to those self-professed Christians who like to make false accusations and create discord among our Christians brothers and sisters, be careful of what you accuse others. Mathew 7:2 says “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
God is love and His children should have no hatred in them for God left us with a new commandment to love one another. John 13:34,35 says “34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
© 2019 Evie Lopez