All believers are prone to persecution - it is inevitable. There will always be someone to associate you with the stigma of the church. While some across the world are experiencing more severe acts of persecution, believers endure social persecution everyday, including me. It can be overbearing at times!
If you never understood why people do or say certain things to you and about you, I want to encourage you that it's not YOU! My brother/sister - it comes with the territory. Can it be hard to deal with? Yes, absolutely. But is it your battle to fight? Absolutely not.
As a believer, here are the top 5 acts of social persecution you may endure:
1. Some people just don't feel comfortable to be themselves around you. Sometimes people will just shut down - not only unbelievers, but other believers as well. The reason is not because you haven't been loving or gracious toward them. The real reason is because what they deal with internally - guilt, shame, worry, feeling inadequate, etc. It's not to say that they won't open up to you at one point, but until they've come to grips with true grace and mercy (which is made available to anyone who accepts Christ), the light that you carry within you may be too much to handle. Some will even go as far to impose their own thoughts on themselves on you and call them your thoughts. You may hear "I know you think I'm not holy enough..." or the "I know you think I've done messed up stuff...." If you notice this is the case, continue to show LOVE and extend grace to them! Remind them that you are no better than they are.
2. Your invitation will probably get lost in translation. Don't laugh! Lol it's true! It's not that you aren't a nice person!!! Most just would rather not have you come to a birthday party, bachelor/bachelorette party, or night out on the town with the guys/girls. The reason is because they would like to feel free to engage in any activities without offending you... or feeling like you're judging them (even if that is the farthest from your intentions!!)
3. You just can't ever fit in, for some reason. No matter how much you try... it's hard to fit in. It's easy to be considered anti-social to other unbelievers on your job because you don't exactly share similar interests. They may ask you to go out for drinks and a part of you just won't release you to go... It's not that you feel like you're better than them - you're simply choosing to use wisdom. But to them, you may be an introvert or someone who doesn't want to be apart. You'll be left out of some conversations. You'll be left out of some friendships. But for the cause of Christ, it is so worth it. Stay focused.
4. You just may be the crazy lady / guy to some people 🤷🏾♀️ . Sharing what you've been able to sense or discern may not be so easy for unbelievers, and even some believers, to digest. To them it's a little spooky... or "deep" as they like to call it. Although you must use wisdom, you must not get discouraged when people consider your sensitivity to God's voice and presence as being "spooky." People reject what they don't understand. Nevertheless, always remember to be mindful of your audience - you never want to abort someone's desire to learn about the things of God by scaring them. Minister to people where they are located and on a level they can understand.5. Voicing your thoughts on controversial discussions may automatically be considered judgment.
Is it fair? No! It isn't! Judgment may be the farthest thing from your mind. However, Christians have been labeled as people who are nothing like their Christ. Although it's not fair, we have to be mindful and ask God for wisdom on how to approach certain discussions. Sometimes God may not want us to touch on those subjects at all. Although it's very sad that many will automatically take an innocent statement and turn it into "judging," this is the unfortunate truth. It's not you. It's not that you just want to judge others. It's just that they are not in a place where they can understand the truth. Arguing won't ever cause them to accept the truth - only reject it. As believers, we must always exude loving kindness and wisdom in order to draw souls into the Kingdom.
Persecution prone... yes. But are you in it alone? No. We are in this together.