How can a christian be happy when persecuted?
It's rather hard isn't it?
You are so right it is not easy for any one to endure. People have been “persecuted” for all sorts of reasons ever since, Adam and Eve. They had a mild persecution and failed. Satan's persecution on them was very subtle. It was a psychological form of persecution. He made them doubt that God had the right to rule over them.
Cain violently persecuted his brother Able because of jealously that Able revived Gods blessings.
Jesus knew that when individuals chose to follow him that there would be various forms of persecution. It could come from family. Many that chose to follow Jesus in the first century became alienated from their families. Remember Jesus’s words as recorded at Matthew 10:34-37
where he tells us It would not be easy for one to be a follower of the Christ - “Do not think I came to put peace upon the earth; I came to put, not peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a young wife against her mother-in-law. 36 Indeed, a man’s enemies will be persons of his own household
. 37 He that has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and he that has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me.” (NWT)
Luke records some encouragement though for those that do have family tern against them Luke 18:29, 30
“29 He said to them: “Truly I say to YOU, There is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 who will not in any way get many times more in this period of time, and in the coming system of things everlasting life
” The prospect of the futre can help us keep a positive out look.
But followers of Christ may be subject to some very brutal treatment by people of other faiths. For example Stephen was stoned to death at the hands of the Pharisee, Saul. We are told Saul's hatred for the Christians was so great he “ began to deal outrageously with the congregation. Invading one house after another and, dragging out both men and women, he would turn them over to prison. (Acts 8: 3
That sort of violent persecution continues for true followers of the Christ. It may seem unusual that Jesus said during his famous sermon (Matthew 5:10-12) “ 10 Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. “Happy are YOU when people reproach YOU and persecute YOU and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against YOU for my sake.(Matthew 5:10, 11
NWT ) Jesus gives us one reason for being happy and that is in the next verse “ 12 Rejoice and leap for joy, since YOUR reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to YOU.”
So if we want to follow Jesus we have been warned. Could God stop such persecution of he wanted to? YES! Ten why does he allow it?
There are reason why God allows his people to be put under extreme pressure like that. I will let an article from a 1983 Watchtower answer that
*** w83 5/1 pp. 14-17 Happy Though Persecuted! ***
Why Jehovah Permits Persecution
Our heavenly Father could prevent the persecution of his people. But he chooses to allow it, and knowing why will help us to be happy though persecuted. The principal reason for permitting persecution has to do with the issue of universal sovereignty. Every witness of Jehovah who maintains integrity under Devil-inspired testing proves Satan to be a liar and gives evidence that even an imperfect human can remain faithful to God though sorely tested or persecuted. The loyal individual upholds God’s side of the issue and supports Jehovah’s right to rule as Universal Sovereign. What a joy to add to the evidence that “he rules supreme”!—Psalm 47:9, Today’s English Version.
Jehovah also permits persecution in order to test the loyalty of those who have made a dedication to him. He has brought together “a people for special possession” so that these spirit-anointed ones might ‘declare abroad his excellencies.’ (1 Peter 2:9) God is also ‘rocking all the nations’ so that “the desirable things of all the nations”—people having divine approval—might be brought into his “house” of worship and fill it with glory. (Haggai 2:7; compare Zechariah 8:23.) Accordingly, persons with a heavenly hope and others who look forward to eternal life on a Paradise earth have become dedicated Christians and witnesses of Jehovah.—Luke 23:43; Revelation 7:1-17.
But who among all these dedicated Christians will finally be part of the promised “new heaven” and “new earth”? (Revelation 21:1) Not everyone among them will be. (Psalm 15:1-5; Matthew 22:14) There will be no lasting place in God’s arrangement for those proving unfaithful. Hence, whereas Jehovah does not cause persecution, he permits it to sift out from among his people those who are disloyal, while preserving in their ranks individuals of unquestioned loyalty and wholehearted love for God. (Matthew 22:37, 38; 25:31-33; 2 Corinthians 13:5) May we be among those who endure persecution faithfully and so have the continual “privilege of fearlessly rendering sacred service to [Jehovah God] with loyalty and righteousness before him all our days”—even forever.—Luke 1:68, 69, 74, 75.
Why Happy Though Persecuted
The Kingdom hope
was specifically cited by Jesus Christ when he said: “Happy the persecuted on account of Righteousness; for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens!” (Matthew 5:10, The Emphatic Diaglott) Yes, association with Christ in the heavenly Kingdom is the marvelous prize awaiting Jesus’ anointed followers who faithfully endure persecution. (Luke 12:32; Revelation 2:10; 14:1; 20:6) And for faithful witnesses of Jehovah having earthly hopes there is the grand prospect of eternal life on a Paradise earth. (Luke 23:43; John 10:16; 17:3; Revelation 7:9, 10, 14) Surely, then, we can be happy though persecuted if we keep in mind the Kingdom hope.—Romans 12:12.
Jehovah’s universal sovereignty
is inseparably linked with the Kingdom, for by means of it he will sanctify his holy name. As Jehovah’s faithful witnesses and Kingdom proclaimers, we are upholding his sovereignty and thus have added reason for happiness even amid tribulation. (Isaiah 43:10-12; Matthew 6:9, 10) So, with God’s help, may we maintain integrity to God and thereby prove the Devil a liar who cannot support his claim that no human would remain faithful to Jehovah under test. (Job 27:5) How happy any persecuted Christian can be when he upholds Jehovah’s side of the great issue!—Compare Acts 4:24.
A clear conscience
also contributes to the happiness of persecuted, though loyal, Kingdom proclaimers. Whereas a professing Christian is likely to experience shame and mental anguish if he suffers for wrongdoing, a person is rightly joyful if his suffering is for righteousness’ sake as a faithful witness of Jehovah and follower of Jesus Christ. Thus, even after being flogged, Jesus’ apostles “went their way from before the Sanhedrin,rejoicing
because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of [Christ’s] name.” (Acts 5:40, 41) Similarly, after being beaten and imprisoned at Philippi, Paul and Silas were not morose or conscience stricken, as though they had done something wrong. Instead, about midnight they “were praying and praising God with song.” (Acts 16:22-25) Hence, while a witness of Jehovah should never conduct himself in such a way that he must be punished as a guilty and possibly conscience-smitten murderer, thief, evildoer or busybody, he can be happy if he is suffering for the sake of righteousness.—1 Peter 2:11, 12; 3:13, 14; 4:15, 16.
Pleasing Jehovah and glorifying him
especially will contribute to our happiness when persecuted as Kingdom supporters. Even when under extreme duress, ‘walking so as to please God’ is vital to our continued joy as Jehovah’s servants. (1 Thessalonians 4:1) Furthermore, when suffering as a Christian, we should “confess that name to the honour of God.” Think of it! Besides pleasing Jehovah, when we endure persecution faithfully we “keep on glorifying God.” (1 Peter 4:16, The New English Bible; New World Translation) What a joyous incentive to endure persecution courageously!
Press On as Integrity Keepers
Clearly, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses have sound reasons to be happy though persecuted. Therefore, with God’s help, let us be as resolute as the psalmist David, who declared: “As for me, in my integrity I shall walk.”—Psalm 26:11.
As faithful Christians, we can be happy though persecuted because we know the Devil’s aim in bringing such tribulation upon us. We also realize why Jehovah God permits his people to be persecuted. Yet, while we have such reasons to be happy in the face of persecution, what can we do to prepare for it? And how can we meet intense or even brutal persecution with endurance?
There are just two more texts I would like to mention
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when YOU meet with various trials, 3 knowing as YOU do that this tested quality of YOUR faith
works out endurance. 4 But let endurance have its work complete, that YOU may be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything.
1 Peter 1:6, 7
.” 6 In this fact YOU are greatly rejoicing, though for a little while at present
, if it must be, YOU have been grieved by various trials, 7 in order that the tested quality of YOUR faith, of much greater value than gold that perishes despite its being proved by fire, may be found a cause for praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. . .