“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
–Paul the Apostle (2 Timothy 3:12, ESV).
Weeks ago, I had a discussion with some friends about the persecution of Christians occurring around the world. Persecution is happening today and it’s widespread and rampant. To get an idea of the state of persecution happening around the globe, click here for an article from Relevant Magazine. It’s a very eye-opening article and definitely worth the read. The fact that persecution exists shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus promised that it will happen. He said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20, ESV).
As my friends and I continued to discuss about the persecuted state of Christians, we began to compare it with the kind of persecution we receive in North America. Of course, a comparison can hardly be made. The extent of persecution that most of us will ever get might be a weird look or an insult or a ridicule. With few exceptions, most of the Christians living in North America (and other similar parts of the world) do not find themselves driven from their homes or fleeing for their lives.
But in another sense, we are being heavily persecuted. When brothers and sisters in our family of believers are being hurt, driven away, and killed, that affects us greatly. That is my brother and that is my sister going through the turmoil and injustice of persecution. And it breaks my heart and makes me angry that something like this is happening on our watch. The Apostle Paul said, “If one member [of the body of Christ] suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor. 12:26, ESV, emphasis added). It’s a very vivid analogy. If I broke one of my legs, my entire body will be affected by it. I wouldn’t be able to walk properly. The pain would be sensed throughout my body. And the rest of my body would have to cooperate in order to heal that one injury and restore it back to health. In the same manner, we have members of the body of Christ who are greatly suffering because of persecution. They’re being broken and injured. And as Paul declared, we suffer alongside them as members of the same body of Christ. We are being broken and injured. And if we are going to heal and restore that part of the body, we’re going to have to work together and cooperate.
I urge us to consider the state of our brothers and sisters around the globe. Pray to God for justice, find ways to help alleviate suffering, and continue to advance God’s kingdom. That’s our family out there who are suffering and we suffer along with them. We must also reconsider how we live our lives today in light of the rampant state of persecution and seek to respond in ways that God expects from those who choose to follow hard after Him.