In Romans 12 Paul writes a list of characteristics Christians should see present in their lives:
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion” (Romans 12:14-16).
Since 2015, Engage Magazine has attempted to provide our audience with an opportunity to fulfill verse 15 (“weep with those who weep”). We sent letters by the hundreds from American Christians to Christians in Egypt, Syria, North Korea, and this year to Nigeria.
While writing the letters takes little effort, and we do find much joy in encouraging our family in Christ overseas, we realize that we are asking for more than that of our audience. We are not just asking for them to write simple letters and prayers. We are inviting them to bring the suffering of persecuted Christians into their lives. We are asking them to weep.
We will spend eternity with Egyptian Christians, Syrian Christians, North Korean Christians, and Nigerian Christians. The experiences and blessings we will receive in the presence of God will be shared among us all. We don’t have to wait till then to exercise this union. We are commanded to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and we can do this by reaching out to them in love.
Prayer. Prayer must saturate every piece of this effort. That includes the letters themselves. Pray for peace, pray for comfort, pray for wisdom, and pray for strength. Ask God what He would have you pray for them and write it down.
Scripture. Much of the New Testament was written for Christians enduring harsh persecution. Since many of those reading our letters have never had the blessed opportunity to read through the Bible in its entirety, this can be one of the most beneficial things you can include. Especially consider the book of 1 Peter, as there is much said specifically to persecuted Christians.
Who God is. Jesus is the great treasure of the Christian life. It is easy for us in America to lose sight of that fact in the midst of buying all the things we want. Imagine how easy it would be to lose sight of that in the midst of trying to survive. Remind our brothers and sisters of God’s character, how He loves, how He never changes, how He has promised to always be with us. Remind them of who God reveals Himself to be in passages such as Romans 8. And if these things are true of God, then “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).