That’s what Christians are accused of having. I think there’s some truth in it. Not as much as atheists would like to believe but true nevertheless.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” Matthew 5: 10-12
I’ve read about people living far shortened lives in North Korea, spending their last years in tiger cages simply for being Christians. I’ve spoken with members of the underground Church in China. Jobs lost. Separated from families. Jailed. Not allowed to meet in groups of more than two people, worship for the underground Church takes place while walking down the street in groups no larger than three. I’ve read about Christians in Somalia (there are less than a thousand) having to hide their Bibles lest they be executed by Muslims. Only last week, once such woman was shot to death after an informer came to the door, asking for prayer and Bible reading.
I couldn’t tell you how many Bibles and books about the Bible that I have in this house. I don’t have to hide them. I can speak to whom ever I want about my Lord and Saviour. I can go to Church and raise my children to know about Jesus. All of this I can do freely. Persecution is something foreign to my experience.
Persecution - pursuing the failure of another individual or group of individuals because of who they are, what they believe, how they look or speak. I don’t know what the dictionary says but that’s my definition. Jesus said, “If they hated Me, they’re going to hate you [His followers] also.”
There was an instance about fifteen years ago where my employer told me that as long as I held to my Christian beliefs, I’d received the last promotion I’d ever get. This might sound weird, but when my employer told me that, it actually brought to me a sense of peace. I felt peace because I knew in my heart that nothing except the presence of Jesus in my soul was driving him to such desperate measures. I’ve always worked in secular agencies and I believe absolutely that it would be unethical to promote my faith, especially to the clients. There was NOTHING overt about my following Jesus in the workplace.
If I had been acting like I do on this blog I could have understood it. None of the push-back that I receive on this blog is persecution. I deserve everything I get. But this employer, well that was different. I was one of four Clinical Supervisors and I was good at what I did. I believe that the only reason my boss was obsessed with my belief in Jesus, my faith in Jesus, my love for Jesus, was that the love that I receive FROM Jesus was being passed on to some pretty difficult to love clients and staff. The likeness and presence of Jesus was showing, and for an atheist, that was intolerable.
That, of course, is what drives any and all persecution that Christians experience. The presence of Jesus is intolerable to a fallen world. People like Christopher Hitchens feel smothered by His presence. Richard Dawkins feels threatened by His presence.
The fact that Jesus WILL build His Church is an absolute nightmare for atheist and Muslim fundamentalists.
The victory is secure. The game is won. Our side wins and there is not a damn thing that atheists or Islamo fascists can do about it. Oh sure, there is going to be some bloody skirmishes here and there. The Bible tells us that at some point there were be an intense and sustained attempt to kill every Christian on earth. I actually believe that atheist heads will be on the same chopping block but that’s another story. In the end, Christ is coming in power and glory to banish evil from His kingdom for ever and ever, Amen.
Some people feel irritated by that; they’re frustrated and threatened by that. What God is going to do in the future is what atheists want Him to do, today. They want suffering and death and evil to be taken away forever. The dilemma for atheists is that when evil is done away with, as enemies of their Creator, they’ll be going with it. Trying to be part of the solution to the presence of evil, atheists make the same mistake that atheists have made for millennia. Trying to abolish followers of Christ and what they believe and teach simply drives them deeper into the arms of Jesus. Hangers on, like the entertainers Ginx describes (Tila Tequila is an example) run away at the sight of persecution and the purified Church becomes so attractive that rather than eliminating Christianity from the globe, the Church grows and grows and grows.
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.
As members of the underground church in China told us, “Please do not pray for freedom from persecution for us. Pray that God’s love will be known to millions and millions more every month.”
“These trials have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold . . . may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1st Peter 1:7.