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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

We are a team of 20-somethings brought together by a common faith in Jesus Christ and employment in our parent organization American Family Association.

The Reality of Persecution

11/18/2020
Hannah Harrison
Writer for Engage

As I sit at my cozy desk filled with pictures of my loved ones, posters draped in Bible verses, and a cup of hot coffee in my mug, I decided to do my daily scroll through news sites. It isn’t uncommon for me to start my day gazing upon the unfortunate events that have happened while I slept in safety.  

Today’s mainstream media is focused on politics and riots, with no good news in sight. But what are other journalists reporting? What else is out there besides unrest in the streets? What is going on outside our bubbles of comfort? 

News flash – it’s more suffering.  

But today’s Christian news headlines were too much for me to stomach.  

- Pakistani Christian girl flees after court orders her to live with Muslim rapist 

- Nigeria: Fulani kidnap 14-year-old girl, 3 others after failed raid on pastor’s house 

- One killed, Four students kidnapped as gunmen invade school, church in Nigeria  

My heart sank. 

Across the nation, we’re focused on fighting a red and blue battle, and believers are fighting for their lives across the world. In January 2020, Open Doors USA reported, “More than 260 million Christians live in places where they experience a high level of persecution, just for following Jesus.´ 

The 2020 report mentions the following: 

- Last year, 2,983 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons.  

- 3,711 Christians were detained without trial.  

- 9,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.  

Meanwhile, in America, it’s considered “persecution” if a door is shut in our face or someone disagrees with our beliefs. At least, I’ve felt that way. I’ve had my feelings hurt for being rejected when I witnessed. But hey, I get a pat on the back for going that extra mile and talking about Jesus. Right? 

Americans have become jaded.  

We like to sit in our cozy pews with our coffee in hand, while around the world, brothers and sisters are being kidnapped, tortured, and murdered. Many believe that our persecution is losing a Facebook friend or a disagreement with a loved one. However, other than that, it seems as though so many believers think everything is normal and good.  

Why should life be easy and comfortable?  

Where in the Bible did Jesus say that life should be easy? That life would be without strife and heartache? He teaches the opposite.  

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). 

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18). 

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14). 

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 12:10). 

Don’t get me wrong. We’re blessed to live in a free nation that allows us to worship the Lord. Yet, our brothers and sisters worldwide aren’t as lucky, and they are losing their lives over it. Meanwhile, I catch myself looking at memes and arguing online.  

They deserve attention, prayer, help, and encouragement. If we could give them that in our free time, could you imagine how the church would strengthen? All across the board! The church as a whole would be stronger.  

If we prayed as we posted, the world could be a different place. If we cared as we shared, there would be a change in the atmosphere.  

1 Corinthians 12: 24-26 says,  

"But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

When one believer suffers, we all should. Unfortunately for me, I’ve wasted too much time scrolling past the issues in Africa, Iran, India, and more. It took today’s headlines to see that there’s so much more going on than we know. I pray we begin to recognize the hurting, and our conversations are no longer littered with meaningless debates. For these believers are in desperate need of recognition.  

For ways more ways to minister to the hurting, check out Open Doors USA and The Voice of the Martyrs. 

 

This article originally appeared on the Stand.

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