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Cruelty to Christians
Handbook for Coping&Overcoming   

Sometimes family members or friends can be downright cruel to one another, especially to Christians. Please explain this to me: What is it about Christianity that makes people think we have no feelings? Or that we somehow deserve this crude, rude, in-your-face treatment? It's bizarre. It seems they treat their enemies with more respect. Sometimes I feel I can't take the cruelty anymore. Any suggestions?
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Worldwide Persecution

We "hear" you. But, you may not like our answer - because regardless of the circumstances, we have to live with it. It doesn't only happen here in America. But, it also happens in other nations where Christian converts are ostracized, shunned, ridiculed, gossiped about, brutalized, beheaded, murdered, stripped of all dignity, and often robbed of property, too. Much of this treatment comes through close family members, no less - sometimes even from church "friends" or family. It's astonishing.

Elaborate Digital Simulation

By the way, there is no logic to this cruel behavior and mistreatment of Christians - or of Jews, either - because it is due to evil spiritual forces - see Ephesians 6:12 - and mankind's sinful (probably genetic) nature . Remember that we live in a hostile environment, an elaborate "digital simulation," according to quantum physicists. Chuck Missler, Ph.D. states:

"Scientists now tell us that the universe is a digital simulation within a much larger reality and consists of at least ten dimensions…We'll discover that each of us is both a pawn and a prize in a cosmic warfare - a hyper-dimensional conflict between good and evil" …


(Missler 2002, Intro).



Centuries to become Psychotic

One more point: Satan has had centuries to become insane and psychotic with murderous rage and bitter, venomous hatred toward Jews and Christians as Dr. Donald Barnhouse points out in his classic, The Invisible War. Look around you. Do you see venomous, irrational hatred spewed-out at Jews and Christians around the world today?

So, our suffering such outrageous treatment from family members or friends perhaps should not be so shocking to us. In fact, people are driven by unseen forces of whom they have no knowledge. Their own behaviors and attitudes are baffling to them, too, and they must constantly rationalize why they behave in barbaric, uncouth ways. They are natural enemies of God, allies of evil, dark forces, and haters of God's children.

In other words, they desperately need our prayers. That is one reason why Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).


Forcing Open Shut Doors

Finally, consider that God has other things, maybe even better things, for us to do than to repeatedly try to convert or placate hostile family members or friends. Remember that "He opens doors and no one can shut them. He shuts doors and no one can open them" (Rev. 3:7).

We suggest that Christians go through the "open" doors and perhaps quit trying to force open the locked, "shut" doors. Maybe God wants you and me to pray for our relatives and friends rather than attempt to "talk" them into salvation or decent behaviors. "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses" (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

Precious Word

Thankfully, Yeshua gives us lots of Scripture to turn to when things go sour for us. We advise all believers everywhere - worldwide - to print-out and memorize many of these Scripture passages. Store them in your heart, and use them to soothe your minds. Teach them to your children, too.

It is God's precious Word to us. Continually "renew your mind" or reprogram your mind with the mind of God (Ro. 12:1-2). In these sixteen short sections we used the NASB translation unless otherwise noted. We also listed a few sources at the end for those who wish to pursue them.

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Verses for Coping with Cruelty





1. Rejoice when people Insult you - Great Reward in Heaven

Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11)


If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:14).


Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (1 Peter 4:16).


Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:19).


Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
(1 Peter 5:8-9).


And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)


If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. (John 15:18)


If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (John 15:19).


If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20b).

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2. We must be Willing to Leave in order to Free Ourselves to Follow Christ

Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)


And He said to another, "Follow me." But he said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead…" (Luke 9:59)

Who is My mother and who are My brothers? And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother. (Matt. 12:48-50).


If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sister…he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:26).


Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother…and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:34)

(editor's note: God is not telling us to "hate" our own families. Instead, He uses Hebraisms or hyperbole to indicate that we must love the Lord more than our own flesh-and-blood).


For even your brothers
and the household of
your father,
Even they have dealt
treacherously with you,
Even they have cried aloud
after you.
Do not believe them,
Although they may say
nice things to you.

(Jeremiah 12:6)


When my father and my
mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of
me.

(Psalm 27:10, NKJV)

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3. God will deal with People who Hurt us. They are in "danger" when they hurt you because we are of God's Household


Always Leave Revenge to the Lord

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, VENGENCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY, says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me and he who rejects Me rejects the one who sent Me. (Luke 10:16).

Do not touch My anointed ones and do my prophets no harm. (Ps. 105:15 I Chron. 16:22).

(editor's note: While we are not "prophets" or God's "anointed," the principle of not hurting God's children remains the same).
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4. Trust God&Quit trying to Figure Everything Out.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The mind of a man plans his way. But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Man's steps are ordained by the Lord. How then can man understand His way? (Proverbs 20:24)

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5. Move On - Trust God to Deal with those who Hurt You

One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal. (Phil. 3:13)

Don't say, "I will get even for this wrong." Wait for the LORD to handle the matter (Proverbs 20:22, NLT).

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6. Don't try to Control Everything - God is in Control

Everything Works for Your Good


We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)


"Nothing works for their good?"

Dr. Sproul reminds us that the inverse of Romans 8:28 above is also true. Nothing works together for good to those who hate God. Nothing! Zero sum game! In fact, material goods and wealth only add to the unbeliever's tragic end as he accounts for his life before a Holy God. Such a revelation should evoke our pity for an unsaved world caught in a tangled web of meaninglessness.
(If God is Good why do I suffer?)

The late Larry Burkett stated that for the Christian this world is the closest to hell we'll ever get. However, for the unsaved, this world is the closest to heaven he will ever get!




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7. God Knows the Future

I am God, and there is no one like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times, things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure. (Isaiah 46:9-10)


8. God Forms Calamity&Well Being

I am the Lord and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well being and creating calamity. I am the Lord who does all these.
(Isaiah 45:6-7).

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9. Don't Worry - Don't get Angry - Leave All to God

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov. 15:1)

Give all your worries and care to God, for he cares about what happens to you. (I Peter 5:7 NLT)

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
(Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)

A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)

Be angry, and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)

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10. Place Blame Accurately

Spiritual Forces are the Problem


For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)



11. Keep in mind that forgiving others doesn't always mean restoration of a relationship. If your brother "repents" forgive him (Luke 17:3).



12. Always pray for those who Hurt You - Remember that they are Hurting Themselves when they hurt you.

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13. God Cares for You

God Knows what He is Doing

Do you think God can't help you? Do you think God can't fix your problems? Well, God knows what he is doing. God has a plan for you. He loves you and He has not forgotten you. God cares for you. You're His creation. He formed you in your Mother's womb, and made you His original design. He has a picture of you tattooed on His Hand. He keeps one eye on you all the time. He sends angels to guard you. You're sealed with His Holy Spirit. He collects your tears in a bottle. He sings with joy over you. He writes down each time you think of Him. God loves you!



(Meyer, Knowing Who You are in Christ)
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He calls us His chosen, holy and loved (Col. 3:12)
He rejoices over us with shouts of joy and singing (Zeph. 3:17)
He collects our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8)
He writes in a book each time we think of Him (Mal. 3:16)
Though a mother abandons her baby, God never forgets us (Isa. 49:15).
He councils us with one eye on us (Psalm 32:8).
Nothing can separate us from His love (Ro. 3:39)
He sends His angels to minister to us (Hebrews 1:14)
He engraves us on the palms of His Hands (Isa 49:16).


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14. Trust God for Who you Are&How Long you Live

Psalm 139:13 For you formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. Your eyes saw my unformed substance. In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.

Physical Traits

Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? (Exodus 4:11).

Location:

From one man he made every nation of men, and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live (Acts 17:26).

Gifts

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7-11).

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15. Marriage&Hostile Unbelievers

if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her ((1 Cor. 7:12).

And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away (1 Cor. 7:13).

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. For otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy (1 Cor. 7:14).

Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave - the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace (1 Cor. 7:15).

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior (1 Peter 3:1).

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16. Evangelism&Hostile Unbelievers

If a village doesn't welcome you or listen to you, shake off the dust of that place from your feet as you leave (Matt. 10:12).

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you (Matt. 7:6).

When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next…(Matt. 10:23).

The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me (Luke 10:16).

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?…(2 Cor. 6:14).

He opens doors, and no one can shut them. He shuts doors, and no one can open them. (Revelation 3:7).

Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had told them not to go into the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not let them go. (Acts 16:6-7).

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Romans 9:18).

So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels (Ps. 81:12).

So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Ro. 1:21).

they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…(Ro. 1:25).

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions (Ro. 1:26).

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (Ro. 1:28).

Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them (Ro. 1:32).

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do (1 Pet. 2:7-8).

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References&Recommended Resources:


Adams, Jay E. 1994. From forgiven to forgiving. Amityville, NY: Calvary Press.

Barnhouse, Donald. 1965. The invisible war. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Bridges, Jerry. 1992. Trusting God even when life hurts. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress.

Meyer, Joyce. Knowing who you are in Christ. (tape-set). Available from: www.joycemeyer.org.

Missler, Nancy. 1999. Faith in the night seasons. (Book, Tapes, or DVD). Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House. Available from: www.khouse.org.

Sproul, R.C. 2003. If God is good, Why do I suffer? (CD). Available from: www.ligonier.org.









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