One of the things that strikes home as I have travelled this Lenten journey in the Suffer Ring is what constitutes persecution.

As I read evangelical writings, read through blogs, hear preachers and testimonies I notice what I now grasp to be neglect of Matthew 7:12. “Always do for other people everything you want them to do for you. That is {the meaning of} Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets” (God’s Word©).

I hear words that border on hate-mongering, or even cross the line into vitriol. Cults, other religions, false preachers or preachers that went astray (and even those who have returned to the Way of Truth) become targets for sharp tongues and pens.

Paul on Mars Hill, Athens

Paul on Mars Hill, Athens

Consider the example of Paul. “Paul stood in the middle of the court and said, ‘Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious. As I was going through your city and looking closely at the objects you worship, I noticed an altar with this written on it: ‘To an unknown god.’ I’m telling you about the unknown god you worship’ “ (Acts 17:22-23 God’s Word©).

Paul did not attack them or write a letter about fake religion as a threat to his culture or faith. Instead he used the beliefs of those gathered as a doorway to tell the Good News about Jesus. If we don’t want other religions spewing hate at us then we should find a different way to approach them. I am not talking about compromise here, but respect. Even Muslims are God’s creation, for example.

Warnings are necessary. Spiteful accusations are not.

When I am under attack I will keep repeating the truth and name antisocial behaviour. But there is no benefit to throwing mud, slander, name-calling or contempt.

My oppressors lacked divine compassion. If I serve the God who is love then my motivation rests not in winning an argument, but in love for people and concern for their souls.

I also realized very recently that no one records Jesus spewing contempt at other religions or idolatry. Jesus urged those adherents of the true faith to live truly faithfully. Jesus named hypocrites. But Jesus came with compassion. “Indeed, the Son of Man has come to seek and to save people who are lost” (Luke 19:10 God’s Word©).

Are we seeking the lost or attacking enemies?

By the way, the teaching of Jesus includes, “But I tell everyone who is listening: Love your enemies. Be kind to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who insult you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other cheek as well. If someone takes your coat, don’t stop him from taking your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you for something. If someone takes what is yours, don’t insist on getting it back. Do for other people everything you want them to do for you” (Luke 6:27-31 God’s Word©).


This Lent I was led on a pilgrimage. On it I discovered the lifetime of suffering I had lived. The journey was for me, but about Jesus. Now there is learning which I wish to share as Lent continues.

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