Before the Apostle Paul came to Christ, his name was Saul. He was a religious terrorist – persecuting, arresting and, at times, approving the killing of Christians.
Know this: His real hostility was not so much at the church as it was with Jesus. Christians, realize this important point. When you are mocked by others, when you feel excluded by others, when you feel the persecution of others, recognize that that person is not as hostile with you as they are hostile with Jesus. It’s still true of religious terrorists today. Persecution of Christians is not so much a hatred of the individual Christian. Persecutors may not realize it, but who they really hate is Jesus!
Whoever it is that gives you a hard time for being a Christian, don’t take it personally. Remember who they really hate – even though many would never admit it. Instead, seek to love them, forgive them, and pray for them. Who knows? Your positive witness to them may convict their hearts of their need of Jesus. They may want what you have. It happened with Paul as he watched the first Christian martyr die – a man named Stephen. It prepared his heart for the time Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus with the question, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”