I’ve been thinking a lot about persecution lately. This past Sunday was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We prayed for our brothers and sisters around the world who are facing life-threatening persecution. This map shows the current level of persecution around the world.
You’ll see the United States is not in blue at this point. But, I believe with the trajectory we’re on, it’s just a matter of time.
In an article in Decision Magazine, Billy Graham warns that the immunity to persecution that Christians in our country have enjoyed over the last few centuries is unusual. He says there is no scriptural foundation for a belief that we can forever escape being persecuted for Christ’s sake. In fact, Christ strongly warns his followers that becoming His disciple would not be a popular decision.
I have only felt minor persecution compared to those throughout the world who are being tortured and killed for their faith in Christ. What about you? How much persecution have you felt in your lifetime? The truth is: If we’re not experiencing some level of persecution, we’re likely not standing very strong for Christ and His teachings. That’s pretty blunt, but I believe it’s a true statement.
Most people would almost rather be shot than to look strange or weird by the world. The world system has petrified most Christians with the fear that they will be seen as ignorant or mean if they stand for orthodox Biblical teaching.
Does anything rile you up? Do you have a burning in your soul for injustice? How about the plight of the unborn and the Planned Parenthood situation? Have you emailed your congressman or congresswoman? If you don’t do it, who will? Somebody else is waiting on you. Are you upset that our religious freedoms are going down the tube? Are you concerned at all that our children and grandchildren will likely grow up in a country where they can’t openly speak the name of Jesus in public when they are adults? Yes, you can say, “Well, times are supposed to get worse and I guess it’s God’s will.” But, that’s nothing more than a coward’s cop-out. Why do we, as Christians, continue to give up ground that was taken from Satan only to give it back because we’re scared to stand for truth?
I remember years ago, in 1999, I started hearing about a man in our county who decided that he was offended because the Ten Commandments were displayed in our courthouse. It was this man (this is from our local paper):
One man was creating a ruckus and because of that the Ten Commandments were going to have to be removed from the Courthouse. This went back and forth for several weeks until Feb. 2000. Well, I couldn’t take it. I said, “Somebody has to do something.” So, I wrote a letter and mailed it to the County Commissioner’s. Here it is:
I was quoted in the paper…
You see, at some point, somebody has got to do something. We’re called by Jesus to be salt and light in the world and yet for most Christians, we just like hanging out in the salt shaker. We don’t want to expose ourselves outside the shaker.
Well, ultimately the Ten Commandments were allowed to stay. They had to be posted along with the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights and a couple of other “historic documents.” Yet, they were allowed to stay.
Guess what’s on the outside of our county courthouse today…
And the very building from which I spoke on February 22, 2000 now has “In God We Trust” adorned on the front of it as well.
When I came out of that building on the night of Tuesday, February 22, 2000, I must admit, that I was afraid. Upon arriving (before I was to address the County Commissioners and the media), I was escorted in the back door with a police escort. It was quite intimidating. I was told by one Sheriff’s Deputy, “You better watch your back, son.” Can you hear me swallowing hard? But, I knew for my children’s sake (at the time I just had Katy and Kandace…they were 5 and 2 years of age) that I had to stand upon principle. I was not going to be bullied or cower in fear. And so, yes…I was afraid when I came out of those glass doors (above) of that County Office Building. But, little did I know there was over 2,000 people outside cheering me on! The local radio station was there and news trucks from Winston-Salem was there. I was interviewed by many people, including our local paper. It was amazing. And it was worth it.
Did I look over my shoulder after that? Yes, you better believe I did. The man who was fighting the posting of the Ten Commandments was a black belt in Karate. However, I wrote him a letter and told him that I had no hard feelings toward him, and I shared the gospel with him. I never heard back. But, at least I tried.
And folks, that’s my point. Don’t we at least have to try to do what is in our power to stand for what is right, good and just? Don’t we need to stop watching TV and get off the gadgets long enough to make a difference in our country? The truth is this…if you won’t write a letter to the editor of a newspaper, I doubt you’ll ever board a plane to go to a foreign country or even walk across the yard to share the Gospel with your neighbor. It’s that simple and that blunt.
I hope you are inspired. I hope you will stand for truth and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all!