The people who have hurt us are in most need of prayers, writes Maria Montemayor. Photo/Courtesy of Parkside Church via YouTube

Pray when the world hates you

By  Maria Montemayor, Youth Speak News
  • July 7, 2016

In the UK, a Catholic teenager is suing his former employer and co-workers for religious aggravated assault. The teenager claims he was subjected to a “mock crucifixion,” tying him from a makeshift wooden cross. The court case addresses other indidents in which his co-workers drew crosses and phallic symbols all over the teenager’s body with permanent marker, setting spray deodorant aflame near his head and giving him a forcible wedgie that caused cuts and bruises.

The story really made me empathize with the teenage victim. I believe his feelings of humiliation and embarrassment were justified and I am glad that he had the courage to air his grievances. Regardless of what the work colleagues’ motives were, there was blatant mockery in their actions. They knew that the teenager was a church-going Catholic and they mocked his religion by drawing crosses all over his face and body and hauling him on a crucifix for 10 minutes. 

The teenager is not alone in being targeted and having his religion mocked. All over the world, people are bullied, tormented, and persecuted. A number of these people are tormented as a direct result of practising their faith, which is unjust but a reality. 

In 2015, thousands of Christians were killed in northern Nigeria for their faith. In Syria and Iraq, Christians are still being persecuted every day. 

The teenager’s story made me think of John 15:18,20: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it has hated you... If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” 

The passage is all about being set apart from the world in the way that we as Christians live. People may hate us because we prioritize God over money and prayer over pleasure. But before we were even born, Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sins. Our pain and suffering will never equal His ultimate sacrifice.

If I could speak to the teenager, I would tell him to take heart. No matter what the verdict of the trial is, he should keep his faith close and pray to God for healing in body, mind and spirit. 

It is in times of trial and discord when our faith is tested, and it is then that we need to pray more fervently and offer up our sufferings. Sometimes people who are close to God attract tormentors who hurt them and try to make them question their beliefs. 

When we attract tormentors it is best to pray for them as Jesus calls us to do. The people in our lives who have hurt us are in most need of our prayers. When we are able to pray for them, we can forgive them and ­find healing from our own pain and resentments.

The actions of the teenager’s former work colleagues have born fruit for them. Hopefully, the trial helps them reflect more on the way they will conduct themselves in the future.

(Montemayor, 23, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and political science from the University of Toronto.) 

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