Do Christians Persecute Fellow Christians?
Persecution comes to Christians. The Bible shows that it may come from enemies, loved ones, or even among fellow Christians (Matt. 5:44; 10:36; Phil. 1:17). Persecution does not automatically mean that you are disapproved by the Lord. On the contrary, it might even indicate that you are approved by the Lord. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-12, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. Blessed are you when they reproach and persecute you, and while speaking lies, say every evil thing against you because of Me. Rejoice and exult, for your reward is great in the heavens; for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Therefore we need to realize that once you start to love the Lord and are absolute for His heartâ€™s desire, you should not be surprised that persecution comes to you. A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above his master (Matt. 10:24). The Lord Jesus Himself suffered a lot of persecution and was even crucified on the cross. We are not greater than the Lord. Since the Lord passed through sufferings in the hands of men, we will likewise encounter persecution from people.
If you want to shun persecution, the way is to not love the Lord and to not stand for the truth. But if you would be one who really means business with the Lord, then brace yourself for persecution. All those who love the Lord in the Bible like Peter, John, and Paul were persecuted, not merely by those who do not believe in the Lord, but also by those who were zealous for God. Paul said in Philippians 1:15 and 17, "Some preach Christ even because of envy and strife, and some also because of good will,â€¦But the others announce Christ out of selfish ambition, not purely, thinking to raise up affliction in my bonds." These people were jealous of Paulâ€™s ministry, most probably, because people were more inclined to Paulâ€™s ministry compared to their own.
It was so in Paulâ€™s time, and it still has been so in modern times. People will speak every kind of lie to try to put you down. They may even go so far as brand you a "cult." The Lord Jesus was also labeled a "cult" during His time. He was referred to as "Beelzebul," meaning lord of the dunghill, a contemptuous change to the name used for the ruler of the demons (Matt. 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18-19). Who were the ones who called Him "Beelzebul"? Was it the Roman government? Was it Herod or the politicians? No! Of all people, it was the scribes (Mark 3:22), those who claimed to know the Scriptures! The Lord said in Matthew 12:25, "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of His household!"
The religious leaders tried to find fault in Jesus. In order to put Him to death, they tried to look for false testimony against Him (Matt. 26:59). It is unbelievable but true- today there are Christians who try to find fault in other Christians in order to put them down. They will think of every evil way to twist your words and then put them in your mouth, deceiving people and convincing them that what you are saying is contrary to the truth, when actually you do not mean that at all. May the Lord give us the proper discernment to see that the enemy, Satan, is behind all these lies. Do not believe everything you hear, even from those self-proclaimed apologetics. We need to be open-minded. We must not easily believe every word people say against someone, especially against a fellow Christian. Even in the world, they say that there must be a fair trial. A person is innocent until proven guilty. A judge therefore hears out the defense first before giving any verdict. Remember also that the Lord is the righteous Judge. He will judge everyone of us. Moreover, Paul exhorted us in Romans 14:10 and 12, "But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God â€¦ So then each one of us will give an account concerning himself to God." Paul continued in verse 13 saying, "Therefore let us judge one another no longer."
May we thus not follow those who call themselves Christians yet persecute fellow Christians. Let us not fall into the same error like the Pharisees and scribes lest we participate in their sins (Matt. 15:1-3). They condemned others for not conforming to their traditional beliefs and practices. The Lord made this remark concerning them: "They are blind guides of the blind; and if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit." (Matt. 15:14)