Dealing with Persecution
A youth group in India were gathering for praise and worship when their meeting was stormed by a group of militant Hindus.
Maggie, 24, said, “We stopped worshipping. My brother Paul asked one of the intruders what was wrong. The intruder started punching Paul in the face. Everyone, men, women and children, were attacked and beaten.”
The assailants were from the local neighbourhood and the attack is understood to have been pre-planned. This is just one of a number of attacks experienced by Christians in recent years in India, by militant Hindus who want to stop Christians practising their faith.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been in a youth meeting that’s been broken up by bunch of local militants. Have you?
Put yourself in that room for a minute. What would you have done when you realised it was beginning to fall apart? Would you have run? Would you have made an escape and promised never to attend that meeting again? Would you have stuck it out and been there for the aftermath?
In part one of Release Potential’s new resource, Persecution Uncovered, we begin by dealing with persecution: putting ourselves in the positions of those who face real hardship because of their faith in Jesus.
The Bible gives us three responses to persecution: endure, avoid, and overcome.
Acts 16: 25-36 talks about enduring persecution, and asks what we think it means to stick something out, even though it costs us a great price.
Acts 9: 23-25 talks about avoiding persecution, about those times when it’s ok to run away from opposition.
Romans 12: 14-21 talks about overcoming persecution, and asks how we can rise above the brutality to a place of blessing.
Helping our young people to think about what their brothers and sisters – their peers – around the world face because of the faith they share is a tough task. But if we begin with confronting the reality of persecution, and looking to the Bible for some answers, we enable them not only to identify with their Christian family, but we also equip them for the moments in their lives that will put pressure on their faith.
Persecution Uncovered is a really helpful way to walk with young people through some of these issues. Starting with a story, and using games, creativity, prayer and application, you can help young people to understand better what it is to follow Jesus at a cost.
And the more they understand about what goes on around the world, the more they will see the active, faithful and merciful hand of God at work in His people.
For young people age 17 -25, how about finding out about becoming a Changemaker programme? Changemakers impact their world as they learn the cost of following Christ. Find out more at Releasepotential.org.