Persecution. Although it is more subtle in the West, it undoubtedly exists. We may not be physically tortured, but we can feel inconvenienced to follow the Gospel in its fullness for fear of being ridiculed, judged, or mocked by others. The Christian walk is not an easy one. Facing persecution can protect us from getting ‘comfortable’ in our struggles and ease ourselves out of them. This eye opening article by David Beddow exposes some of the ways persecution is manifested in our workplace, by misguided ministers, and even by our friends and family.
“Too often we allow ourselves to be silenced because of it. We become “living dead” instead of proclaiming life. We have the light in us, but we hide it instead of letting it shine because it’s inconvenient for us to shine out for the Gospel. It might even affect the size of our bank account! The persecution is subtle, but effective. It serves its purpose. It silences the witnesses even more effectively than death as the individual becomes a walking example of turning away.”
And this is why Take Heart’s work is so valuable. It calls for the West and Eastern world to work together to strengthen each other in faith. How often we hear from Take Heart volunteers in the field express how their experience encouraged them in the faith. They speak of widows full of gratefulness and confidence in Jesus despite their poverty and loneliness. They see children walking to the very church where they witnessed their parents get killed. They are overwhelmed by the faith displayed by the families in the destroyed villages they visit. In a way, it helps them rediscover their identity and affirm their faith.
There is no doubt we all have faced or will face opposition in practicing our Christian faith, regardless of what part of the world we live in. “We need to stand against all advances of the enemy. We must fortify the faith we hold dear by encouraging each other and by holding ourselves accountable to the Word of God. And finally, we must not turn a blind eye to those in other countries whose lives are under constant threat because of their faith. We must join their fight…”
The persecuted Christians we serve are the ones who spiritually encourage us to practice our faith without compromise. They don’t consider themselves heroes for facing ISIS. They believe they’re people who did what they had to. This example so strong, and so full of Christ’s love, so much as to not even consider renouncing Christ, is reaping many benefits in the West, in the people who are hearing their stories.
“Comfort often produces complacency and compromise. Trials and persecution produce persistence and perseverance.” C.L.
Take a stand.
Take Heart | Development Coordinator