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Persecution Complex

DSCN5278In general usage the idea of a persecution complex refers to an unhealthy state of mind that causes persons or groups to assume that they are the victims of an evil conspiracy that has singled them out because they are different than the mainstream.

The term therefore is apt to cause many of us to feel uncomfortable.  To the extent that we believe that our world hates us for Christ’s sake, we are likely to resent the suggestion that it us “unhealthy” for us  to think that we are being singled out and targeted for the same reasons that he was. Many of us know that it was Jesus himself who said we should not be surprised to find that the world that hated him cannot help but hate those who follow him (John 15:18-19).

Prior to that the Teacher made a revealing comment to his own family members who didn’t believe in him, and actually thought that he was mentally unstable (John 7:3-7).

But with this much said, a question lingers. Why then did Jesus have a reputation for being a friend of sinners, while being hated by so many leaders of the synagogues and experts in the law of Moses? What was “the world” that hated Jesus? And why?

Am guessing this is the kind of question that can be best answered by trying to think through it together. While being resented or rejected for the sake of Christ would be honorable, we need to make sure we are making progress in knowing the difference between suffering “for Christ’s sake” rather than for our own mistakes and resulting persecution complex.


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95 Responses to “Persecution Complex”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    1 John 2:18 tells us that there are many *anti-christs* and 1 John 2:22 tells me that liars deny that Jesus is the Christ and he is an anti-christ who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 4:3 states that *every* spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is not come in the flesh is not of God and that spirit is the spirit of the anti-christ.

    1 John 4:4 and 1 John 4:5 states we are of God and have overcome the world because of Jesus who is in us. 1 John 4:6 states that those who are of God recognize each other, but those of the world do not recognize the Holy Spirit because they listen to a different spirit.

    Anti of course means against, the opposite or opposing; so an anti-christ spirit is one that looks for and finds contention with Christ and His believers.

    Most people or as Mart has chose to call them *sinners*, are not really religious. They don’t care about the arguments between religions because they mostly are concerned with the day to day activities of finding satisfaction for themselves.

    They aren’t offended when a Jehovah’s Witness shows up at the door they just either don’t answer the door or smile take the pamphlet and say good day.

    However there is great emotional disagreement between the religions of the *world*, enough to go to war over. In this arena of *believers* there is enough hatred to produce attention from the masses who don’t *believe* in much more that being fed today.

    There is an old wayward truth that says people resent winners. At first they say hurray, good job, but secretly or not soon after they begin to resent that person for their success; this is the same attitude or spirit Cain had concerning Abel.

    Paul lined out the spirit of the world in Galatians 5:19, 20, 21; the flesh or the world behaves in this anti-christ spirit. Whereas the Spirit of God which is Jesus produces a very different attitude in people who posses Him as Paul also explains in Galatians 5:22, 23.

    The world resents that attitude and the success that it brings and so comes against it from every side.

    In essence, because we are confessing Christians we have a world of people who either join us or hate us or are indifferent.

    The Spirit in us *convicts* them of the spirit in them, and so they retaliate by resentment that leads to hatred.

    Steve

  • Bill says:

    Another wonderful blog post, Mart!

    In my experience, Christians like to say they are being persecuted nearly as often as they change their underwear. Usually, it’s Satan after them. Sometimes, it’s “the world” that hates them.

    Yet, if these folks weren’t so busy being abject weenies I’m quite sure “the world” would think them fine. And as far as Satan goes, I think he’s got more important people to harass.

    Your questions:

    * Why then did Jesus have a reputation for being a friend of sinners, while being hated by so many leaders of the synagogues and experts in the law of Moses? What was “the world” that hated Jesus? And why? *

    I’ll answer in reverse order.

    1. “The world” was, primarily, the establishment. The order of things. The norm. How things were. Part of that was political. Part of it was religious. Part of it was social.

    Jesus was tolerant of politicians (“Render unto Caesar…”), he was intolerant of religiosity (overturning the tables of the moneychangers). He did things against the norm (healing on the Sabbath — even healing, figuratively and literally, some of the more undesirable members of society…like lepers and prostitutes).

    In short, if Jesus were around today (in the flesh), he’d be considered an iconoclast, a rebel, a troublemaker. He’d likely be in jail, as was Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. He’d be tazered, cuffed, roughed up, and thrown in jail.

    Why? Because he wouldn’t stand for government red tape, for society’s apathy — especially regarding feeding the hungry, preventing war, or tolerating government or religious corruption, or for abiding by norms that are counter intuitive or just plain stupid.

    In response to that, he wouldn’t wring his hands or sit around waiting for a quorum. He’d just do something about it. He’d feed. He’d clothe. He’d tell the churches that they’ve given over the job of being salt and light to government, thereby rendering themselves powerless and useless in society.

    But he’d do all that calmly, without fanfare, violence, or threat. He’d simply DO.

    “The world” is the same today as it was in Jesus’ day. It is just as corrupt politically, just as haughty and shallow religiously, and just as apathetic and tolerant-of-the-intolerable socially.

    2. That’s why Jesus was “…a friend of sinners, while being hated by so many leaders of the synagogues and experts in the law of Moses…” He broke society’s norms, did what needed to be done, went where he was needed, avoided where he wasn’t wanted.

    Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East every single day. They’re losing their heads — literally. Their churches are burned. Their wives and daughters are raped and/or beaten. That’s real persecution.

    Here, in the States, Christians serve scones and coffee in the narthex, climb into their Lexus SUVs, drive off to their $1.3 million mansions in the suburbs, and attend their high-school daughter’s Mozart recital later in the afternoon.

    Persecution is coming to the United States. Major persecution. From our own government. And from forces of society that have grown to despise our hypocrisy, greed, and narrow mindedness. Our days of comfort and laziness are drawing to an end.

    But the looming persecution is not because we’re following in Jesus’ footsteps; rather, it’s because we’ve followed in “the world’s” footsteps. We’ve become, as a people, the same folks that Jesus ticked off 2,000 years ago. Our Christian faith and the world’s values appear the same now.

    That’s why people (especially Christians) look aghast at those who actually DO what Jesus did — spend time in the inner cities, feed people (despite not having a government “permit” to do so), raise their voices against war and death, hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors, party with those who party (for example: the celebration at which he turned water into wine), talk about love and forgiveness, etc.

    I like to say that Jesus didn’t preach the gospel. He WAS the gospel. He didn’t preach the truth. He WAS the truth. He didn’t talk about love. He WAS love. Jesus was showing us in word and deed what we are supposed to do every single day of our lives.

    If we did that, we most definitely be persecuted. We’d become the friend of sinners…and the enemy of the religious. We’d become the salt and light…and the enemy of government which believes IT has that responsibility now.

    I’ve rambled long enough.

    I appreciate this question, Mart. I appreciate everyone’s patience reading my response.

    Much love to all.

    Bill