Religious Persecution

Jesus’ teachings require us to forgive those who persecute us for our faith.

I have been reading about the modern world’s persecution of Christians, the scope of which resembles New Testament times. It’s a rising trend and it saddens me.

Christianity Today reported in 2017 that “for the third year in a row, the modern persecution of Christians worldwide has hit another record high.” (“Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian” by Jeremy Weber, January 11, 2017)

According to the article, 215 million Christians experience “high, very high, or extreme persecution.” For perspective, the United States’ estimated population was approximately 326 million in November 2017. In other words, the number of persecuted Christians worldwide represents an amount equivalent to 66% of America’s population.

North Korea remains the most dangerous place to be a Christian. Christians there suffer terribly. The most violence against Christians occurs in Pakistan, exceeding even northern Nigeria,” the article continues. “Hitting closer to home, 23 Christian leaders in Mexico and four in Columbia were killed specifically for their faith.”

According to the article, the “top 10” nations where it is currently most dangerous and difficult to practice the Christian faith are North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Eritrea. The same article states that the “top 10” nations over the past 25-year span were North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Afghanistan, Maldives, Yemen, Sudan, Vietnam, and China. Persecuted Christians in these places and others have asked to be remembered in our prayers.

“Islamic extremism” (distinguished from the Islamic faith) remains the dominant driver of Christian persecution according to the article, but “ethnic nationalism” is a significant driver too. It’s common for unstable governments to gain support by scapegoating Christians, the article informs.

Although it breaks God’s heart to see his believers persecuted, Jesus warned us that Christians would be persecuted for their faith — as it had occurred to Him. But He comforted us, assuring us that persecuted Christians do not face their persecutors alone.

I am sending you our as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be arrested and tried, and whipped in the synagogues. Yes, you must stand trial before governors and kings for my sake. This will give you the opportunity to tell them about me, yes, to witness to the world.When you are arrested, don’t worry about what to say at your trial, for you will be given the right words at the right time. For it won’t be you doing the talking – it will be the Spirit of your heavenly Father speaking through you! Brother shall betray brother to death, and fathers shall betray their own children. And children shall rise against their parents and cause their deaths. Everyone will hate you because you belong to me. But all of you who endure to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:16-22)

Yet for all the violence that may be inflicted against Christians because of our faith, Christ does not want us to react or retaliate with fear, with hate, with anger, or with violence. Christ’s message from God is a message of love and forgiveness.

Perhaps forgiveness is the directive that we’ll struggle with most as we experience or witness persecution of those who follow Jesus’ teachings. Why?  Because Jesus’s teachings require us to forgive those who persecute us for our faith.

“Your heavenly Father will forgive you (for your sins) if you forgive those who sin against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

 

 

6 thoughts on “Religious Persecution

  1. I’m no longer positive where you are getting your information, however great topic. I must spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thanks for wonderful info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

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    1. Alex, thank you for writing. The source of my information for the first six paragraphs is Christianity Today, “Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian” by Jeremy Weber, January 11, 2017. The complete article is available on-line. Thank you for reading my post.

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  2. I do consider all the concepts you have presented in your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for starters. May you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually something that I feel I’d never understand. It kind of feels too complex and very huge for me. I’m looking forward to your next post, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

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    1. Thank you, Ada. I pray to become a better writer than I am. The topics I write about are not too complex for anyone — the fault is mine as a writer if you feel that way. I am sorry. You need understand only this: God is Spirit, not human. God loves you very much, even when you do bad things. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to love, save, and guide us. If you believe in Jesus Christ you will be saved. Everything I write about is based on this.

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