Our Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself had been severely persecuted, forewarned that persecution would also happen to those who would become His disciples, and foremost among those persecutors are members
of their own families.

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'They will also persecute you ...'

Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, April 2012, p.3

IT'S NOT THAT I want to hide it from my family, but I'm just waiting for the right time before I formally tell my parents that I'm in the process of entering the Church Of Christ ... One of my cousins converted to the Iglesia Ni Cristo before  and our whole clan, including my parents, denounced him for doing that ... For a long time, I studied this Church and I'm convinced that this is of God. However, the thought of being rejected by my family sometimes haunts me. Could you please counsel me?

Miss Sophie
Bohol, Philippines

Editor's reply:

We fully understand your predicament. Many other brethren have experienced the same. When found listening to the doctrines of the Church, many are indeed persecuted, others are even disowned by their loved ones and close friends. By faithfully adhering to what is right nonetheless, many of us have either appeased or drawn even their once persecutors into the true Church.

Persecution is part of Christian life. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself had been severely persecuted, forewarned that this would also happen to those who would become His disciples. He said:

"Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also" (John 15:20, New King James Version).

The Lord Jesus Christ admonished that people would be persecuted for righteousness' sake (Matt. 5:10). The righteousness is the gospel or God's words, which is His power for salvation (Rom. 1:16-17). It is not surprising therefore that many who have decided to listen to the gospel as taught in the Church Of Christ experience various persecutions.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,  For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:10, NKJV)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith." (Rom. 1:16-17, NKJV)

Christ also taught that foremost among those who may persecute His servants are members of their respective families:

"Your worst enemies will be the members of your own family" (Matt. 10:36, Today's English Version).

If situations like this would arise, Christ exhorts us to love Him more, showing that our love for Him transcends  our love for anyone else:

"Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples;  those who love their own son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples". (Matt. 10:37, Ibid.)

Besides, even if a true servant of God is abandoned by his parents he is never alone for as the Psalmist says:

"My father and mother may abandon me, but the LORD will take care of me" (Ps. 27:10, Ibid.).

Let us be inspired therefore by the apostles who, in spite of being beaten and warned not to do the Lord's will courageously continued to preach in His name. They remained steadfast in the faith amid great dangers to their lives (Acts 5:40-42).

40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His[d] name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:40-42, NKJV)

They stood for the truth unshaken because of their assurance that those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake will inherit a great reward−the eternal life in the Holy City (Matt. 5:10-12; II Thess. 1:4-5; Rev. 7:14-17).

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,     For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:10-12, NKJV)

so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; ( II Thess. 1:4-5, NKJV)

14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:14-17, NKJV)

Earnestly pray that our Lord God may give you the strength to do what He wants. Also pray for your loved ones that they may be enlightened. Invite them also to listen to God's words as taught in the Church Of Christ.


Note: Some cited verses are printed in full to facilitate study.

Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.

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