How to Handle Persecution Through a Selfless Way of Thinking
When we begin to stretch ourselves relationally, selfishness dies and selflessness grows.
When we’re persecuted, instead of fighting against everything that happens, we can learn to embrace the pressure or discomfort of being persecuted by people of the world. We can come up with a different approach rather than hostile.
You must understand that to win, you don't fight it, but embrace it and master the situation so that you can be comfortable with it. You need to reach a level where you see these persecutions as normal, not abnormal.
Jesus said we would surely experience external conflicts and persecution because we're affiliated with him.
When you understand and know who you are in Christ, you won't be surprised when someone you didn't expect to try to persecute or taunt or disturb you emotionally or curse you, and so on because you are an opposition, so automatically you're an enemy to the world because you aren't part of them.
And guess what, the one whom you're affiliated with is too powerful, hence they're scared of you. You have to understand that the reason they play their little games is because they know you're a master already, and with this understanding, you shouldn't try to come on the same low level fighting with them but toy should succor with their imperfections because all they're doing when they persecute you is to unconsciously affirm your greatness and their baseness.
Stop Looking at Your ‘Self’
I think the greatest problem with handling persecution is when you look at yourself as being unfairly treated or wrongfully manipulated; this is selfishness. Selfishness, like love, is revealed in words and action. And the words and action that accompany selfishness are always self-seeking activities that seek to maximize pleasure.
You see, when you and another fellow are directly opposite in your convictions, a ruction will certainly erupt between both of you; however, when you and another fellow isn’t in opposition but have parallel views or convictions about a certain matter, there’ll certainly be no ruckus.
Selfishness makes always put you in opposition to people in that it blinds you to their needs and magnifies yours, and when your needs, having been projected in a magnifying lens, is being fought by another fellow, without a doubt, it causes a hullabaloo. If it’s your needs your seeing you’ll be very angry, but if it’s their needs you’re seeing you’ll be very happy; it matters what you see.
We as Christians aren’t called to a life of selfishness. We ought to be blind to our needs so we can be open to others’ needs. It’s not possible to have 2 different perspectives at the same time; you can only have one at a time. It doesn’t matter if the people persecuting you are very wicked and savage; the truth is they’re ignorant and really don’t know what they’re doing.
It’s doesn’t matter if you’re the one being hurt, that doesn’t mean you’re really being hurt, as stated earlier, it’s just a subtle they way affirm your superiority and their ignobility; hence, even while you seem to be the one being hurt, you should try to change your perspective and focus on them, not on yourself.
The truth is, you don’t solve a problem with a problem. If everyone around you is light, you have to make a distinct decision to be the light. In this case, selfishness is typified as darkness, and selflessness is light. One person has to choose to be the light and that’s you who is being persecuted. Hence, stop looking at yourself in the wrong light—be open to their needs, too.
Are You a Noble Leader or Petty Follower.
The characteristic of true leadership demands that one be really selfless. Conversely, the characteristic of pettiness demands that you be really selfish. Your character shows the quality of your personality. You have to be selfless.
There are 2 things every Christian ought to know they are:
- Selfless people
Any Christian who doesn’t think like a leader and a selfless person really need to re-visit the words of Jesus. Jesus himself taught leadership and selflessness.
Selflessness is the greatest protection towards persecution. It protects you from behaving foolishly. It helps you allow some space for people to act with some immaturity or selfishness or towards you.
With selflessness, you won't be fighting with a selfish petty fellow on a lower level. You'll simply allow him enjoy his fight for pettiness while you hold your own and stay sensible and reasonable, being conscious of your stand with Christ.
You need to understand that 99 percent of people are always in an unconscious fight, trying to prove to people, “I'm not a noble leader; I'm more petty than you are.” It's called the fight of the selfish. And if you're in such a fight, it'll only require a show of stupidity to win; so don't deign.
There's no middle ground between foolishness and stupidity; there's no neutrality, between selfishness and selflessness, you're either here or there; you're either wise or stupid, so consciously decide which one you're going for.
In the Long Run
Choosing to be selfless, at first might not seem to be to your advantage, it might seem that you're being taken advantage of, but that shouldn't make you deign.
You must understand that it's the selfish part of you (everyone has it) that's feeling that way. However, you can't afford to let that feeling influence you because, after all, selfish impulses satisfied always lead to foolish actions. So allowing them "win" will be the best way to go.
Remember, thinking you're being run over or used or victimized is really not going to help, if anything, it'll only make you angry and act like an unreasonable or irrational fellow. That perspective is the wrong perspective.
Now, it doesn't matter if you are shouting at the top of your voice with so much aggression or just talking softly, simply acting from that selfish perspective; i.e., feeling you’re being victimized, will really make you look stupid when you act. Hence you have to change your perspective.
The deal is you must learn to overlook everything a petty fellow does. And if you must respond to what he does, never do so with the intention that he changes his attitude towards you but respond be like, “I know you can't help being stupid but I really need to change this thing you're doing”; instead of thinking like, “I hate the fact that you're acting this foolish hence I really have to change you.”
You should let your focus be on what is being done, not on the person doing it. You must understand that no one can change that person, only God can. Remember, selfishness can only be palliated, not removed.
Be warned that when you make the mistake of thinking they're wise, you're simply butting your head against a wall, because that wrong thinking will make you feel you're being intentionally victimized and that's really not a good perspective; as hinted earlier, it'll only make you act unreasonably.
Again, your focus shouldn't be on the person but on the action. Your perspective and reaction matters a great deal hence never focus on anything that'll aggravate you beyond measure.
If there's anything you must do, it's this: always expect their stupidity and don't be surprised when it shows up. That way you'll never be taken off guard with their stupidity when you’re being persecuted.
© 2017 Matthew Joseph