It comes as a surprise to many that the most persecuted group of people in the world are Christians. Further, it comes as a surprise that the overwhelming majority of Christians are people of color. Around the world our brothers and sisters in Christ are being persecuted and martyred for their faith.
Recently, I had lunch with one of our missionaries to an undisclosed location where Christians are severely persecuted for their faith. I lost my appetite as we discussed the plight and danger facing our brothers and sisters in Christ. The hateful savagery of those persecuting believers comes from dark and dangerous hearts blinded by Satan. The more I listened the angrier I became. I had to be reminded that those being persecuted pray for and love those who despise them. As for me, “I came so close to missing the way. I was stumbling over what I saw with the wicked.” Psalm 73:2-3a, PT.
Jesus taught us to love, pray, and bless our persecutors. He warned us that if we wanted to follow him, we would be persecuted. We are so blessed in America. We are not experiencing persecution. We do experience intense pressure to conform and compromise our faith.
There was an attempt on the part of some local and state governments in the United States to deny the right of assembly for worship. As believers in Christ we are commanded to not forsake the assembly of ourselves together for the purpose of worship, fellowship, discipleship, and evangelism.
For awhile it was our decision, not the government’s decision to gather virtually for worship. It was decision informed by the scriptures to protect and honor one another in Christ as well as our neighbors. It was more than a common sense decision; it was a biblically informed decision that makes common sense.
Fortunately our founding fathers were informed by the Bible to protect the free exercise of religion. Further, we are blessed with legal recourse when governments attempt to limit that freedom. This is one of the reasons that dictators and communist nations fear Christianity so much. The people with power in those countries despise the fact that Christians first and foremost are loyal to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. These tyrants want to control every thought and action of their populace because they fear losing control.
So let us unite in faith and advocacy for the persecuted. Let’s bear their burdens in prayer and generosity. Let’s keep ourselves informed so that we know how to pray.
When our children were young my wife placed a world map under a clear plastic table cloth in our breakfast room. We would pray for different nations and people groups over breakfast and during family devotions. Missionaries were frequent guests in our home and they would talk to our children about their ministry in their particular region fo the world. Use a map or globe, and read the news to know how to lead your children in prayer.
Let’s write and call our legislators. Many politicians are woefully uninformed about persecution, especially of Christians. For example the persecution of the rapidly increasing house church in China is well known. Except that one of our recent ambassadors, confessed honestly, that he had never heard about a house church.
It should be of great concern to us when an group is persecuted and murdered for their faith, even if they disagree with us. Along with Christians, Yazidis, Jews, and many Muslims are persecuted under apostasy and blasphemy laws as well as communist governments that are committing genocide.
I close with a quote from a sermon of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on 2 Corinthians 12:9. “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
“Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.”
The top 10 most dangerous countries for Christians are:
|1. North Korea||6. Eritrea|
|2. Afghanistan||7. Yemen|
|3. Somalia||8. Iran|
|4. Libya||9. Nigeria|
|5. Pakistan||10. India|