Monday, December 6, 2010

A perspective on persecution

I could have a bumper
sticker with this image
on it, if I wanted. Too many
Christians in too many
nations dare not.
Written by Reese Maguire

While I’m new to the work of The Voice of the Martyrs, I’m not new to Christianity or the knowledge that persecution comes with being Christ’s disciple.

I was 5 when I prayed a very simple prayer asking Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. And, I was 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 29 and all the numbers in between when I was told my beliefs and trust in a higher being were ridiculous, silly, slightly whacko or just plain out-dated.

And I grew up in North America, where I experienced the freedom to practice my faith in Christ. I knew some form of persecution would be a part of my life because Jesus said it would be (Matt 5:10, 2 Tim 3:12 NLV). But, I could attend a church. I could own a Bible and openly discuss Christ with others. I could even have a bumper sticker with a fish symbol on it, if I wanted. Still today, I can do all these things. Freely and openly.

In too many nations around our world, fellow Christians do not have these freedoms. They must keep their beliefs a secret. Those who share openly are at the mercy of militant unbelievers, hardened hearts and, oftentimes, governments who have declared themselves to be god. Those who speak out often face imprisonment, loss of jobs or possessions, rejection and sometimes beatings by family members and, for some, even death.

That gives persecution a completely new perspective. And it makes me realize that I need to take advantage of where God has placed me and the resources He has given me not only to bring people to Him, but also to inform those around me of those who cannot speak for themselves, hence the entire ministry of VOM.

Whether we are in a comfortable Western country or an intolerant Eastern country, God has called us to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15 NLV). Wherever we live, we are to share Him with those who don’t know him. We are to share Him, knowing that we “will be arrested, persecuted and killed...hated all over the world because we are His followers” (Matt 24:9 NLV). We are to share Him, because He is the world’s only hope of salvation.

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