We saw yesterday pictures on Facebook of a woman hanged in Syria for being a Christian and a couple stripped and shamed in India for being Christian. We of course know of worse. We forget this is ongoing.
But think: What do persecutors hope to gain? Perhaps they hope to quiet Christians, but this is a blind and false hope. In other, non-Christian cultures, fear may quiet people into oppression, but this has never ever happened in cultures rooted in Christianity. Perhaps they hope to make Christianity non-public. This has happened, but Christianity has always flourished underground. Perhaps they hope to eradicate Christians. Ha! It is said that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.
In civilized countries persecution is much more subtle. One is asked not to hang a cross as artwork on one’s wall, whereas another’s “art” is fine. One is asked not to have a Bible with one’s books on one’s desk. In the past, this has perhaps worked. Probably not anymore, given the more gruesome persecutions elsewhere, these days. Persecution is now being identified as such.
Most of all, instead of hate and fear, persecutors are paid back with love and prayers. We pray for those who persecute us, just as our Lord Jesus taught us.
Further, Jesus takes such attacks as against Him. Remember what he said to the persecutor Saul on the road to Damascus? Jesus said, “Why are your persecuting me?” What great judgment would one have for attacking the Lord God, Creator! In Saul’s case, however, all was forgiven because he accepted Jesus as Lord. Possibly he had little choice, when confronted with the blinding Lord of glory. He wasn’t entirely ignorant; he was a religious man. He fell down, bowing and said, “Lord! What would you have me do?” Good question. If this is you, ask the Lord God of Creation, Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Jesus, His exact representation, and Holy Spirit, what you should do.
If you surrender to Jesus, you get salvation, forgiveness, and heaven. If you submit to fear you get oppression, death, and more fear/torment.
We pray now for all persecutors, that they meet Jesus. May all subtle persecutors have their eyes opened and so be given a chance to repent. We pray for all jihadi fighters that they have Damascus road experiences and become great preachers for Jesus.
Thank you, Lord. Amen. (written Jan 2016)