We live in a evil, violent, and dangerous world. It seems daily we see the evil the world has to offer. Terrorism, murder, rape, robbery, and in some instances outright targeting and killing of Christians. It seems to be a scary world, and perhaps even more so for the Christian.
We are promised to be persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.Look at our reward for persecution.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Based on what we know so far, should Christians be fearful? How should we to react to persecution in the world? We know we should love our neighbor as ourselves, but what else does God's Word show us?
The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.Isaiah 41:10
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.Isaiah 41:13
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?Psalm 91:2
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.Matthew 10:28
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
It is pretty clear, God is our strength, refuge, and fortress we have nothing to fear. In fact Proverbs 29:25 says that "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.", is this because our fear will cause us to act on our own and not by trusting God?
I believe so, this is where man always goes wrong, we put ourselves in place of God. We try to play God, and that will never end well.
Think about that, as Christians, God's children, we are completely protected, there is great and wondrous power there, we have nothing to fear. Ever! Not once, not ever should we live our lives in fear of anything (We should always fear God! See Luke 1:50, Matthew 10:28). How liberating that should be for us, this is the power we need to go forth, witness, and spread the Word of God. We are not to live in fear but in gentle, loving power, putting our trust and faith in God to work His Will.
Now that we know we have that power, how should it be used?
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:Romans 12:14
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.Romans 12:17-21
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.God's Word paints a perfect picture of how Christians should behave and share God's gifts, for mercy, grace, and long suffering, meeting evil with good, repayment with love. This is just the opposite of what the world expects. If we give the world what it wants and expects, here is what we get in return.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.Genesis 9:6
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.That just does not sound like a good place to be, by taking matters into our own hands, by playing God, we have certainly hurt ourselves. What's more God provided the following insight.
As a Christian, I know when I die, I go to be with the Lord.
Now, I don't know my attackers heart, is he saved, is he a Christian, does he know the Lord? When defending myself, I kill my attacker, will he go to be with the Lord, or did I just send him to eternal damnation?
You see the importance of this question?
Judge not, that ye be not judged.Is not that the ultimate judgment? Did I just deny this persons ability to be saved? Did I just condemn this person to Hell?
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
I know that I am going to Heaven, I get to be with the Lord when I die.
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.Philippians 1:21
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.In death, a Christian has nothing to lose and everything to gain, a unsaved person has everything to lose. So why would I play God and kill another, for any reason, God wants us all to be saved.
1 Timothy 2:3-6
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;It is not my job to make that decision, my job is to trust and have faith in God!
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Just look at what God has promised us. We have believed on Jesus for Salvation, we have trusted in God for the forgiveness of our sins. Shouldn't we have trust and faith that God will give us the protection we need?