"The word used [for conduct] could refer to discharging the obligations of a citizen. Because Philippi held the privileged status of a Roman colony, its citizens understood the responsiblities associated with citizenship". (Nelson Study Bible, pg 2000). I don't think that's true today.
There are many who call themselves by the name of Christ who ought to understand this great and awesome responsiblity. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe they have done the calling instead of Christ. We ought to all test ourselves, is "Jesus Christ really "in you" (2 Corinthians 13:5). Paul also wrote to the Corinthians saying, "Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable....(2 Corinthians 13:7).
God never intended for believers to persecute each other. But that is what is happening in this day and age. I'm not talking about disagreements about what the Bible teaches. I'm talking about a person's character. How a person acts and what a person says reveals what he or she believes. I think many masquarade as Christians. Jesus said this would happen, "By their fruits ye shall know them". Paul elaborated upon this in his pastoral epistles.
Jude describes these kind of people flawlessly, "These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."
You would think with such a strong warning about such consequences, that the "Christian" persecuting other Christians would be scared senseless into repenting. The problem is that this person (who very well may believe in God) does not BELIEVE what His Word so clearly says.
I can't say I will rejoice the day these "spots" like the ones described in the book of Jude enter hell, but I sure don't want fake Christians in heaven. They make our lives miserable here on earth (or at least they try). However, I think they make themselves more miserable than the person(s) they are persecuting.
Jesus was right, when he said the blind could not lead the blind. These types of people stumble those who are blind. Those who Christ really lives in, have the responsibility to minister to those who have been deceived, to point them to the real Christ in Scripture. Because there are some that really don't show it, or live it, but they sure do talk a lot about it! Once you can spot one, though, the rest are pretty easy. No one is fooled by a lie already known or experienced.
To be discerning of people like those described in Jude, we ought to always remember Philippians 2:3-4, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
There are those who say they have your best interests at heart, but their actions say otherwise. People like this boast in themselves. They tell you about how others have praised them about....WHATEVER. There is no humility, but they will tell you that they are humble. Get a clue....humble people don't realize they're humble. Think about it. Study Moses, the most humble man in Scripture other than Christ.
If the person who is spiritually abusing you claims to be a Christian, run him or her through the test of Jude. Watch how they treat others. How do they treat you? If they do not pass the test, pray God give you wisdom to get out of that relationship. He is faithful to rescue His own from the teeth of the wolves.
Do you think of yourself as a Christian? Who are you mad at? Who do you want to hurt? Who do you want to control that you
can't control? If you really feel this way, you had better examine yourself...Is Jesus
Christ living in you? Are you sure?