The Atlantic recently had an article titled "The Evangelical Perecution Complex: The theological and cultural roots of a damaging attitude in the Christian community." I think it had a point in suggesting Christians view of opposition is rather too shaped from their long history of being the powerful in society, and the world.
"Believers can come to see victimhood as part of their identity."
It's an important subject for Christians today of all days. So I was interested when this morning I was greeted with two stories on Facebook, posted by several friends. Some were posting Lord Carey's article in the Telegraph where he argues that as Christians are “disproportionately” persecuted in the Middle East they should be given priority for help from the British Government.
there were similar sentiments expressed on the floor of the Canadian Parliament. Candice Bergman MP noted that we don't often hear of Hollywood stars speaking out for Christians at the Oscars, and that in fact "many of the elite readily join in the mockery and disdain shown to Christians."
I'm wary for several reasons of the rush to join the ranks of the most persecuted group on earth. First it may be true. Or It may not be. So many are dying at this time. So much intra-faith persecution and slaughter goes on in the Middle East at present I'm really unwilling to say who gets the worst deal. Certainly Christians are having a very hard time. So too are Sunni Muslims. So too Shia. So too Yezidi. And many many more.
Second, I fear a mindset of "I'm more victimised than you." And the resulting victim mentality. It's debilitating for those who fall into it.
But thirdly on today of all days it seems to ignore the attitude of Jesus in the face of abuse, a prejudicial trial, and facing a violent death.
"When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him." Luke 22.49-51
Peter, probably recalling this incident and the whole period from arrest leading up to Jesus trial - and aware of the way he'd completely messed up what it meant to be a disciplined follower of Christ - later wrote:
"When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." 1 Peter 2.23
i can't speak personally for those suffering. I pray for them, for grace and strength whatever they face. For myself though I seek to cultivate an attitude of solidarity with all around me - Christian, Muslims and all. I think that's part of being a global citizen.and it's a lesson from the story of the good Samaritan.
I'm convinced Jesus gives me the grace to seek the good of all.