Another incident has erupted in Lahore, Pakistan, as Muslims have raided a Christian school complex and threatened Christians there with violence. The incident occurred after a local Muslim leader announced over the loudspeaker that Christians at the school were guilty of tearing pages from the Quran. Within minutes, a mob had attacked the school and gained entrance to the Christian compound.
Fortunately, police also responded quickly, and no further violence ensued. No Christian was beaten or arrested. So, is this an incidence of Christian persecution? Can there be persecution if no one is arrested, beaten, tortured, or imprisoned? Yes, I think persecution can and does happen at times even when there is no violence. Jesus is the reason I think this is true.
In Matthew 5:11, ‘Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”
There are two main points in Matthew 5:11 which make it possible to have persecution even when there is no violence. This case in Lahore, Pakistan, provides a perfect example of Christian persecution without violence. Here are the two reasons briefly explained.
First, notice that the blessing of Matthew 5:11 occurs for those who have had things said against them falsely. Insults and slanders are lumped into the broader blessing for the persecuted. Jesus Himself faced these slanders, as some referred to him as a drunkard, while others said he did his work by the power of the Devil. Jesus was not immune to falsehoods being levied against him, and neither will any of His followers be. In Pakistan, Christians at this school were falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. Those false accusations were responsible for mob rioting. The rioting was clearly anti-Christian persecution.
Second, and more important, the attacks were happening because of Christ. Ultimately, all persecution is against Christ Himself. So, in this case, the school was targeted because Christ is present there with His people. The school is part of an outreach ministry. More than 100 Muslim students are getting a great education free of charge because the Christians are reaching out to them, attempting to help the poorest neighborhoods of the city by providing schooling free of charge. This is Christian love in action because it is empowered by Christ Himself. The presence of Christ is on display, thus fueling the fires of persecution. Even as unbelievers hoped to silence Christ when He walked on earth, so, now, the same pattern is repeated against Christ’s body, the church.
We can be very thankful that this latest attack did not include violence. We can be thankful that no one was killed or injured. But we can be certain that the harassment will continue because where Christ is present there will be opposition to Him. The darkness still hates the light.
- How the Blessing of Persecution Works (gregoryccochran.com)
- The Muslim Persecution of Christians Continues Unhindered (gregoryccochran.com)
- Why Jesus Cares for the Persecuted (and we should, too) – Video (gregoryccochran.com)