Friday, July 10, 2015

Poor me

So many stories of Christian Persecution in the news, like the attacks on the bakers and the Bible publisher, and even though churches may be the only "people" protected under the first amendment, they may find themselves with no insurance. I see many christians lamenting the coming (and existing) persecutions.

It's so easy to get into the "woe is me" mentality and rail against the injustice and tyranny around us. And I fully believe (unlike some) that we as Christians should protest and oppose injustice and tyranny. But let's look at the bigger picture.

We are called to pick up our cross daily and follow Christ. Remember Christ's words in John 15:18: “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you." That's all well and good in theory, but when it's put into practice, are we up for it?

I fear the coming persecution because (1) I don't want to give up the comforts I have and (2) I'm afraid if I'm put to the test I'll be found lacking in faith. I think most (if not all) Christians have these two issues to some degree. The very fact that I fear these is evidence of my imperfect Christianity.

I should fear the coming persecution because of those innocents who will be hurt by it and because of the non-Christians and CINOs (Christians in name only) who will ultimately be harmed by their sin. Because if the Bible teaches us anything, sin is it's own punishment, as St. Paul says in his (now controversial) first letter to the Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles 
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 
For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.
I should fear what's coming because in the ensuing backlash others will suffer, perhaps more than the Christians they persecute. If history tells us anything it's that a persecuted group is all too likely to persecute the next group.

I should fear what's coming because in this way satan is having a field day and the salvation of souls is at stake.

But I should not fear what's coming because it will affect me personally or because I want to be comfortable.

And so I offer this prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, I offer you my fear, my worries, my shame and my suffering in atonement for my sins and the sins of the whole world. Bring all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy. Jesus I trust in you, help increase my trust in you.



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