“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” – Matthew 6:11-12 NIV
Before Saul became Paul, he was a religious terrorist – persecuting, arresting and, at times, approving the killing of Christians.
What you may not realize is 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 with Jesus. It’s still true of religious terrorists today. They probably have no idea, but their battle isn’t with “Christians,” per se. It’s because of Who the Christians profess to believe in – and His name is Jesus.
Whoever it is that gives you a hard time for being a Christian, don’t take it personally. 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?”