We remain blissfully ignorant about persecution in our time. Some of this has to do with the American press, which as a whole doesn’t like evangelistic Christians and so doesn’t care much about reporting persecution and atrocities committed against them. But also complicit is the U.S. government that will not take a human rights stand on persecution against Christians in other parts of the world. Worst of all, our churches are to blame for our ignorance as a people — persecution is too unpleasant to talk about in many of our churches.
Our personal ignorance, however, is our own doing. Let’s be honest: we don’t like to hear bad news or think about faith in Jesus having dire consequences in our time. So off we go into the trap of the evil one who doesn’t want us riled up about our faith. If we don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist. We don’t have to be troubled by it. We don’t have to feel threatened by it. We don’t have to worry about the consequences of our own faith. We can blissful keep thinking that faith guarantees us good things and we can go on believing that if we work hard we will get the good things we deserve.
Truth is, persecution is real and we have many ways to learn about those who can be heroes for us today and remind us that the passion and courage we see in Acts isn’t just something from long ago and far away. Here are some resources you might find helpful to help you have solidarity with your friends in Christ who are suffering throughout our world today.
- The book Radical: Taking Your Faith Back from the American Dream by David Platt
- The website Persecution.com and Voice of the Martyrs newsletter available from the site
- The inspirational book by a non-Christian about faith in China, God is Red
Those will get you started, but here are a couple of things you can immediately do.
- Read about the pending execution of a pastor in Iran named Youcef Nadarkhani
- Sign the online petition to help free Asia Bibi, a Christian wife and mother convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in Pakistan.
- Watch the video below
And please, don’t forget to do what the apostle Paul urge us all to do years ago as he faced his own battles with persecution:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed tob at the proper time (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NIV).
Pray for peace. Live in love. Hold on to faith.