How easy it is for us in the US to slip into the comfort of the unaware. For the most part, our lives are comfortable and easy. We are indeed blessed – and not because of any special righteousness that we possess. Mostly, we enjoy these blessings because of where and to whom we were born and the sovereignty of God. Yes, we deal with our share of financial, physical, and personal struggles. And there are times when living as a Christian can be inconvenient. But for the most part, our lives are comfortable and easy and blissfully ignorant.
Rarely do we suffer as many in the world do. Few of us are starving. Few of us are homeless. And few of us ever suffer for being Christians. There may be some inconveniences on account of our faith. But not persecution.
But that is not the case in much of the world. The cover of this week’s Newsweek carries the banner: “The War on Christians.” In the issue is an article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali entitled “The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World.” After describing some of the persecution that Christians face in Muslim-majority countries, she says:
“It should be clear from this catalog of atrocities that anti-Christian violence is a major and underreported problem. No, the violence isn’t centrally planned or coordinated by some international Islamist agency. In that sense the global war on Christians isn’t a traditional war at all. It is, rather, a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities.”
What should be our response to this? I think it should involve at least two steps. The first is to respond as Jesus commands and not as our culture, or our human nature, would suggest. Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48
The second step is to pray for those who are facing this persecution. Pray for their safety. Pray that they will respond in a way that points their oppressors to Christ. In fact, I would encourage you to check out this website and take the challenge to pray regularly for those parts of our global Body who are suffering.
A third step would be to encourage your Senators and Congressional representatives to take this issue seriously and move the US government to speak up and act on behalf of those who are oppressed.