Scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted…
Last week I shared how to respond when people offend you. I discussed recent incidents of feeling a tad bit persecuted, and how I’ve decided to react when it happens. On many occasions I’ve had to fight the urge to fight back! Even though we know the right way to respond (or NOT respond), it’s still hard sometimes to deal with the attacks. In light of that, this week I’ve put together a list of scriptures that can be helpful and encouraging when you feel you are being attacked or persecuted. It’s helpful to know that we’re not alone and that God has given us some encouragement and direction on this topic.
Persecution is a term we can relate to being treated differently in a negative context. To persecute is to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment; to harass persistently; or to annoy or trouble persistently. The Bible is chock-full of stories where Christians were persecuted. In the Old Testament, Noah was criticized and thought of as crazy for building an ark, the Hebrews were oppressed and made as slaves in Egypt before their exodus with Moses, Joseph was harassed by his brothers, and there are countless other stories in the Old Testament. Throughout much of the New Testament, Christians everywhere were persecuted, even (and especially) Jesus Christ, Himself.
Present-day Christians encounter persecution of all kinds…even death. It’s both humbling and easier to bear being picked on, attacked, insulted, and persecuted when we know that across the world there are others suffering much, much worse.
Why do you think Christians are persecuted—what’s the cause?
It’s often hard not to ask the question “why me?” when we are being treated differently, being persecuted or just being left out, but the bible reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that trials (persecution included) are common to man—meaning that they happen to us all. 1 Peter 4:12-29 also tells us not to be surprised when trials come against us as if it’s strange, like it shouldn’t be happening. There are times when we will share in some of Christ’s sufferings. However, Romans 8:18 reminds us that even though we might experience suffering in the present, it will not even compare to the glory that will be revealed to us later. If we are ever persecuted for being a Christian or living right, God will make it right someday—He’s got our backs. God is our avenger. We just have to remember that things aren’t always peachy just because we are Christians.
Like I briefly mentioned in the last post, we might even consider it a compliment that the devil thinks of us as enough of a threat that he has to mess with us! That must mean we’re doing something right! The devil comes against us (or uses other people or circumstances to come against us) because we look like God (Genesis 5:1 says man is made in God’s own image). The devil can’t get to God so he comes after us. A good thing to remember is this—that if you’re not pleasing God, you’re pleasing the devil; and if you’re pleasing the devil, you’re not pleasing God. We should seek to please God by being the people He calls us to be—by being different from the world. It is better to be a God-pleaser than a people-pleaser, world-pleaser or devil-pleaser!! A very sweet reader sent me an encouraging e-mail last week saying, “Praise God for people like you who stand up to Satan’s “temper tantrum”.” I loved that! I hope these verses will be an encouragement to you too to stand up to Satan’s temper tantrums!
Scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted…
“Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (NLT)
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” John 15:18-19 (NLT)
“So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” 1 John 3:13 (NLT)
“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” Matthew 5:10-12 (NLT)
“And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Mark 13:13 (NLT)
“What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.” Luke 6:22-23 (NLT)
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14 (NLT)
“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” 1 Peter 3:14-17 (NLT)
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NLT)
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT)
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37 (NLT)
“Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.” Romans 12:14-21 (AMP)
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” 1 Peter 5:8-10 (NLT)
“I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.” Deuteronomy 32:35 (NLT)
“But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship [without flinching], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of] your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5 (AMP)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-47 (NLT)
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.” Proverbs 14:29 (NLT)
“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” Proverbs 29:11 (NLT)
“A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.” Proverbs 12:16 (NLT)
“The wise are patient; they will be honored if they ignore insults.” Proverbs 19:11 (NCV)
“A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.” Proverbs 15:18 (NLT)
“Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” Proverbs 16:32 (NLT)
“Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.” Proverbs 17:14 (NLT)
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” James 1:19-20 (NLT)
“Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.” Proverbs 20:3 (NLT)
“Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.” Proverbs 20:22 (NLT)
“If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.” Proverbs 25:21 (NLT)
“After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” Genesis 50:14-21 (NLT)
“Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (NLT)
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NLT)
“Many persecute and trouble me, yet I have not swerved from your laws.” Psalm 119:157 (NLT)
Take Some Practical Steps When You Feel Persecuted:
- Remember that you are not alone—Being persecuted is to be expected if you are living a godly life. Many others are going through, or have gone through, the same attacks you are, Jesus included. You are in good company. You might be more worried if you are NOT being persecuted! The devil may not mess with you as much if you are doing things his way.
- Know that God is your avenger—He has your back. God will not abandon you. God is a just and fair God. One day He WILL right every wrong that was done to you.
- Remember that God will bless those who endure being persecuted. Your suffering will not be in vain. You will be rewarded.
- Keep in mind that God will give you the grace to endure persecution. He will give you strength and comfort through it, and He will develop your character throughout the process.
- Don’t seek revenge, and be very cautious of your response—especially anger. Remember the godly communication guidelines and re-read this post about how to respond. Don’t neglect patience, kindness and forgiveness. Remember to imitate God.
- Pick a verse that “speaks” to you and write it out. Post the verse somewhere as a reminder during those times you feel attacked.
What helps you when you feel persecuted? Leave a comment below (click on the post link to join the conversation if you’re viewing through e-mail).
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