16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other. 18If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'
Christians sometimes react in a negative and hostile manner when they are persecuted. Persecute, a verb, has one meaning i.e. cause to suffer (source- Wordnet). Christ has already forewarned His followers that they will be hated and persecuted just as He was hated by the world. And the hatred, was without a reason - though none can find fault with what He did (except the Pharasees of the day).
As His followers, we must continue to remind ourselves of Christ's suffering and what he had endured for our sake. Having reminded ourselves that we are not alone and are blessed indeed that we need not go through the suffering he endured (have you seen The Passion of the Christ?), we must then go on to listen and act on His commands "To love each other"(John 15:17b) for Christ also said:
43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48)
It is a difficult journey to take indeed. As humans, though we may have been saved, traces of our past bondage and sins may still be lingering in us. Unless we are able to let go of the past and that includes praying for those who persecute or hate us, we would not be able to obtain the peace which is beyond understanding as promised by God.
It would be foolhardy to think that we can do it alone. Many Christians continue to struggle in their faith and walk with God by remaining as individuals who are unconnected with the rest of the believers. Jesus commanded that we remain in Him and in one another as His children. The early church grew because they devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer. They were on fire, so to speak. But it is the evil one's scheme to keep believers away from God and from one another. The evil one knows that a believer will be weaker when he is unchurched and having to cope with the persecutions and struggles all by himself.
Therefore, if you are still struggling on your own, in your faith and walk with God, continue to dwell on God's Words and seek counsel of fellow believers. Join a small group / cell group / prayer group for support, encouragement and accountability to one another. Whilst no believer is perfect, a group of believers who earnestly seek God's ways in their lives will be able to spur one another to perfection in Christ.
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