As children of God we are told to remember various things in Scripture. One of the things we are supposed to remember is those who are being persecuted for the Gospel. There was a time when the only time people would become aware of the persecution of fellow believers is when they get a letter or hear a story about someone. They would then have to make a mental note to pray for that person.
This is not the case today. Today we are informed of persecution of Christians every day. There are websites dedicated to telling the stories. There are ministries that only deal with issues of Christian persecution. You can get newsletters delivered to your mailbox, or email inbox. And then there is the mainstream news. If it bleeds, it leads. So when 30 Christian men are beheaded, by Muslim extremists, CNN, FOX, ABC, and every other secular news outlet becomes our reminder. You would literally have to live under a rock to not hear about some persecution somewhere.
Persecution comes in various modes. There are men and women who will be killed for their faith today. Some will lose their children to the government. Others will be beaten and imprisoned. Many will lose their job or have to take one of the lower positions in their culture simply because they follow Jesus Christ. There will be others who are disowned by their family, and that will bring them difficulty in the community.
Do not discount someone’s persecution just because it will not take their life. It is arrogant and ignorant to say that a person is not being persecuted just because it doesn’t rise to the level of gore another is facing. Even now American Christians are losing their jobs and businesses because they refuse to bow to the false god of Secular Humanism. I’d say if you lost your entire job/business and reputation in the same day, you’d feel like it was persecution. In this day, persecution is everywhere. If you aren’t experiencing it, perhaps you aren’t doing the Christian life right, as the apostle Paul wrote, “All those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) You can count on this… our persecuted brothers and sisters in other countries would not dismiss our persecution. They know that anything we face because of our faith in Christ is to be valued.
So it seems impossible that we would forget about persecution in a world where the 24 news cycle is constantly reminding us about horrors happening to Christians. But to remember the persecuted is not just to know about. It is to act with compassion towards the one being persecuted. Compassion is not just feeling bad for someone… it is feeling with them. The writer of Hebrews told the early believers, “Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily.” (Hebrews 13:3) So remembering isn’t simply a mental exercise. It is an emotional and spiritual investment. Remembering isn’t something you do with your head. It is something you do with your heart and your hands as well.
Today there are Christians around the world being persecuted, and perhaps some in your own city. Remember them. Pray for them. Write to them. Support them in some way. Tell their story... and tell it as if it is your own. Feel their pain, and sense their victory. You don't want to meet them some day and remember that you forgot them.
I encourage you to check out this website. Don’t just read it as information, but read it as inspiration. These are real people like yourself whose walk with Christ has led them to experience the very things you pray to God to avoid. Read it. Pray for them. And ask God how you can support your brothers and sisters in chains. www.Persecution.com
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.