MBBs, there are ways to diminish soul pain in the midst of persecution, and I’d like to tell you about one of them. I was told by a college classmate to remember my salvation during times of great pain. He said that there might be times when nothing was working, but remembering my salvation most likely would. He was right. It worked for me during very intense times, even when reading the Bible seemed to have no effect.
The word of God is always effective. I simply could not take it in by reading it in during that time. My mind was probably not able to focus properly. Yet, my soul needed to see God’s love, and the way that seemed to work every time was remembering God’s demonstrated love for me on the day that I was saved. Remembering the changes in my life, what He gave for me, that He chose me and that He would never leave made the pain more manageable. It always made me feel loved and reminded me that God was in control. It still does. Remembering makes me remember His character, which is always good.
Remembering the day of my salvation has been effective for me when dealing with intense soul pain from persecution. Please consider doing the same.
Keywords: MBB, discipleship, remembering salvation, dealing with pain, persecution
That’s what I was told a few months after I had become a Christian. It was great advice, but took me a while to discover what it meant, even though my friend told me.
He said that though I was being loved a great deal by others, I still felt rejected because of the effects of being disowned and disinherited after becoming a Christian. He said that the love was rolling off of me like water off of a duck’s back because I did not have a way to receive it.
I knew he was right, but told him I did not know how to change it. He said that much of it was about focus. I told him that in my mind my focus would often go to the thing that screamed the loudest — in this case the pain from the rejection. Acceptance and love were not being received because their voices were being drowned in the noise from the storm of pain.
He paused for a while, looking down, brow furrowed. He took so long that his wife reached out to gently touch his shoulder, reminding him of the need to speak. I think He was praying, asking God to speak through him. I believe He did.
He continued to wait, then finally told me to rub love in like a lotion. He clarified that the kind of love I should focus on was love that agreed with the description of love in 1 Corinthians:4-8 and came from people that wanted the best for me. He said I should actively focus on that love, and continue to think about it until it went in (to my mind and soul). He said I should rub the thoughts in until all the love was absorbed into me, and that I should not stop doing so until I knew that I had been loved. I should note that I was being loved by people and by God.
He said that God was building in me the ability to receive love, and eventually I would be able to take it in fully. He said that receiving love would overcome the rejection, leaving me free to grow in Christ fully, with the ability to help others.
Receiving love in my life has brought healing, comfort and confidence. It takes time, but rubbing love in like a lotion has been helpful in receiving love and practicing Philippians 4:8-9. I recommend actively receiving love if you feel rejected or are being oppressed or persecuted — yes, even rubbing love in like a lotion. It works.
Keywords: Receiving love, lotion, rejection, persecution, oppression
People often wonder if they are equipped to minister to someone going through the loss and grief that persecuted MBBs experience. The answer is: yes!
You do not have to have gone through the same thing as another in order to effectively minister to them. Sometimes simply being with someone is enough to help them through an awful time. The people that most effectively ministered to me in college knew little to nothing of my culture or my pain. They were friendly, and we enjoyed each other’s company — it was more than enough.
If you can walk with an MBB through the pain, please do so. You don’t usually need to discuss pain unless they do. Your presence alone will be like a salve for them, especially if you help them enjoy the normalcy of life and perhaps even make them smile a time or two. The ministry of being there is underrated these days. It is extremely powerful for ministry to the persecuted.
Keywords: Being there, MBB, persecution
When you encounter a new MBB, her or his world is not just falling apart. The MBB often feels that they’ve actually lost their entire world because essentially everything they’ve built their lives on is gone and is not coming back.
Many people feel unqualified to speak to the hurt and the circumstances that new MBBs are in. You don’t have to – speak to the person. Tell truths that you, a Christian, know well. Please let the MBB know:
- God loves you and will not give up on you.
- God will be with you through the pain.
- God can heal the pain, which sometimes takes time. It may not happen instantly, but it will happen and things will eventually feel better.
- Even if they don’t, following God is worth it.
- Keep going. Don’t give up.
Yes, teach MBBs about the Bible, about God’s goodness, intimacy with God, prayer, spiritual warfare, and the doctrine of persecution, but also keep in mind that the immediate need may be that the MBB simply needs to keep going.
One of the effects of persecution is to make people stop doing what they are doing — often through depression or fear. The ability to keep going can not only help them survive, but even thrive in the midst of extremely terrible circumstances.
I know that all five of the above are true. They are based on scripture, but I also know that they’re true because they have been true in my life and in the lives of many MBBS. Those MBBs said that they needed to know and be reminded of the five things above.
Keywords: MBB discipleship, persecution, comfort
Hello, brother or sister MBB. Some advice and a few thoughts to encourage you to keep going:
When you want to know how much God loves you, look mainly to the Bible and ask God to reveal His loving nature to you. If you look only to people in the church, you run the risk of allowing their treatment of you negatively influence your view of God. God is completely good and is fully for you. In the church, you can have both good and bad experiences. While many will treat you well, please remember that those that don’t are, like you, still growing. Keep loving them and forgive them as you’ve been forgiven.
The main thing to focus on is loving God and following Him. While it may seem strange and unfamiliar, you are a member of His family. Your relationship with Him is deeply personal, and He calls you His friend. That is not a distant friend, but one in His innermost circle — all because of Jesus Christ.
About those things that you have suffered and lost, in a strange way those things are a gift. It is very difficult to know Him fully when holding on to our lives to protect them. Persecution and loss, as you well know, causes us to either let go and seek Him or cling even more tightly to our lives. The latter leads to falling away from God — a bad choice. It is much better to keep going, face the pain and seek Him even more. In my life, and in the lives of the many MBBs I have talked with, growth in Him accelerates in the tough times. Amazingly, we all noticed something else — a deep sense of God’s presence and His peace. Peace may not have been there every second, but the best way I can describe it is that we all had a prevailing peace. Keep going — it is so worth it to get to know Him better.
There’s something to be aware of and look for — joy. Joy isn’t ordinary happiness. It is way beyond that. God promises us joy when we are in His presence. Joy is the secure knowledge and contentment that comes from being loved unconditionally by God in Christ. That joy is there even in the midst of suffering, and remains in good times. Keep looking to God, expecting His help and His inexplicable joy.
Keep looking up to where your help comes from. He will help you. He will bring you through, and the enemy cannot defeat you. Even if the enemy kills you through people, you go to heaven. You will be there because you followed the only way to get there — Jesus Christ, our Lord.
It’s strange that the thought of dying can comfort, but it can if I, or you, view it as a good thing. We get to be with God. Death is seen by many to be awful, the worst that can happen. For Christians, even the worst is good (though we are not to seek our own deaths). Knowing that makes even the worst situations easier to deal with. It makes it easier to keep going.
Keywords: MBB, encouragement, persecution, joy, worth it, heaven