Standing your ground as a Christian doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t flee persecution. Fleeing persecution is a time-honored tradition of true believers. Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus. When they came back from Egypt, they moved to a part of the country where Herod’s successor wouldn’t have authority over them. Jesus himself, throughout his ministry, moved from town to town and avoided certain areas where he knew the Jews were out to kill him. We are to follow Jesus’ example in everything we do, so stand your spiritual ground as a Christian – and run!
NOWHERE IN SCRIPTURE DOES IT ADVISE BELIEVERS TO REMAIN WHERE THEY ARE BEING PERSECUTED.
When Jesus knew his time had come, he willingly went to Jerusalem. When Paul knew his time had come, he willingly went to Rome. Otherwise, Jesus and Paul fled from or avoided areas where they knew their lives were in danger. In stark contrast, when they knew their time had come, Jesus and Paul boldly went to their persecutors rather than have their persecutors hunt them down.
Followers of Jesus will always suffer persecution. Our job is to pray for those who persecute us, and then get the heck out of Dodge. Jesus is nothing if not pragmatic in his approach to survival. Don’t fight your persecutors – flee from them, and pray for them.
Some notable flights from persecution:
- The Exodus (Hebrews fleeing Egypt)
- David (before he was king) fleeing from Saul
- Early Christians fleeing everyone
- True Christians (born-agains) in the Middle Ages fleeing the Roman Catholic Inquisition
In response to current widespread persecution of “non-believers” (that is, non-Muslims) in perpetually war-torn countries such as Iraq and Syria, some men who call themselves Christians have organized “Christian militias” and vow to fight and kill to retain their ancestral land. This is not what Jesus would have done; Jesus said: Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Jesus told us to abide by the Ten Commandments, including “Thou shallt not kill.” There is no such thing as a “Christian militia”, if fighting and killing is involved.
Christians who are being persecuted need to flee. Standing and fighting (i.e., killing people) is going against God’s will. It’s your spiritual ground you need to stand, not the ground under your feet.