The Tragic Witness to the Lost When Christians Persecute Christians

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

How sad it is when believers attack other believers, especially over non-essentials. What damage we can do as a witness for Christ.

Who Are You Persecuting

How sad it is when believers attack other believers, especially over non-essentials of the faith. What damage we can do as a witness for Christ, but it’s also the same thing as persecuting Jesus Christ. When the Apostle Paul was full bent on imprisoning and killing people of “the way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22), what did Jesus tell him on the Damascus Road? It wasn’t, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting the church” or “Why are you persecuting Christians?” No, it was “Why are you persecuting Me” (Acts 9:4)! Why would Jesus say that? Saul (later, the Apostle Paul) didn’t even know Jesus at the time, at least personally, but when he was persecuting the church, Jesus said it was the same thing as persecuting Him. That’s because we are the Body of Christ and He is the Head, and what happens to the Body is felt by the Head. It is Jesus’ church, so persecuting the church, or other believers, is the same thing as persecuting Jesus Himself! That’s not good my friend. But we can slip into doing it so easily (I confess) and attack other believers who do not believe the exact same things that we do.

Christian Ways To Deal With Difficult People

Agree to Disagree

You can disagree with someone and still not be disagreeable, but many times it comes to combat action with words. Christians who disagree about certain doctrines can take Scriptures and hurl them at one another like weapons, but the Word of God was never meant to be used as a weapon against other believers. It becomes a “Bible Verse War” and it can get nasty, but the unsaved world looks at this and must think, “If that’s Christianity and they can’t even agree among themselves, then it’s not for me.” And I don’t blame them for reacting that way. It’s sad when we take up sides when we’re supposed to be unified. In all the essentials we must agree, but where there are areas where believers are allowed grace, it is wrong for one Christian to attack another.

Judge, Jury and Executioner

When we confront another believer about something that’s non-essential to our salvation (like different views of the rapture, the millennium, tongues, etc.), we become judges of our brothers and sisters, so the Apostle Paul asks, “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Rom 14:4). Paul stated, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Cor 4:4), so what does that mean for us? It means we “do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Cor 4:5). There is only one Judge, and we’re not Him. Even so, many believers attack one another and become judge, jury and executioner. Now what does that say about their faith? What kind of witness does this send to the lost?

Love and Don’t Despise

Jesus said it would be by our love for one another that “all men” (everyone!) would know who His disciples are (John 13:34-35), but it’s hard to tell it’s a loving relationship with one another when we’re arguing over differing viewpoints. How can we pass judgment on those in the world either? God will judge them, but we still judge one another over things that are not clearly defined in Scripture. God’s Word says to us, “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him” (Rom 14:3). If God has welcomed him or her and you haven’t, then you’re the problem (or I am). Some eat bacon, some don’t. Some drink, some don’t (drunkenness is sin of course). Some go to the movies…some do not. Not one of us has the exact preferences as anyone else; even our spouse, so how can we try to make our beliefs someone else’s beliefs? How can we force our view on others over something that’s not essential to our salvation?

Having Jesus’ Mind

If we look to Jesus Christ’s example, it might prevent us from attacking other believers. Jesus Himself was the glorious God in Heaven, and yet, He “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7). That is why Paul pleaded with the church to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Phil 2:5-6). Even more remarkable, here is the Great God of glory, most glorious indeed, Who came down from heaven, and “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death, yet we can’t compromise with others over what they believe!? Jesus humility should humble us and make us realize that we can win an argument but lose a friend. Is it really worth that?

Conclusion

If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ, then you will face the wrath of God on judgment day (Rev 20:12-15). There is no reason to delay in placing your trust in Christ right now. Before you lay down to sleep, confess your sins before God; acknowledge your need for forgiveness; trust in the ability of Christ to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (2 Cor 5:22). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, confess Him with your mouth (Rom 10:9-13), and then find a Bible-believing church and get baptized (Heb 10:24-25). Take the advice of the author of Hebrews who pleads with the lost sinner: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb 13:5). Make that decision today, right now, while it is still called today (2 Cor 6:2).

Here is some related reading for you: Christians Persecuting Other Christians

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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