“Live a life being misunderstood because of how and who you love.”
The above was my take away from the talk Bob Goff during the Youth Pastor Summit this past week. There were many wonderful speakers but what he said struck my heart. This stayed with me as I learned more about Open Doors, an organization that aids persecuted Christians.
The thought that kept going through my mind was that while we attended a conference held at Universal Studios, my brothers and sisters suffer. As we praised our Lord, loudly and publicly, my brothers and sisters fear their neighbors turning them in. When we ate heartily both days, my brothers and sisters were thankful for the little on their plates.
Our lives are vastly different to say the least. As a Christian, in this country I am not persecuted. I can purchase and have a possession of a Bible. My employer has to follow certain regulations in accommodating my religious obligations. If they do not I have recourses to rectify the oversight. I can speak freely of Jesus without fear of arrest.
Do I face challenges because I am a Christian? Of course. I face them daily, both internally and externally. However, challenges in my life are not persecution. This attitude needs to change. When we in this privileged country complain of being persecuted it makes me sad.
It also makes me wonder. If we call today’s challenges persecution, how will we stand when true persecution comes? Are you willing to hold steadfast if you are beaten nearly to death? Or having to prepare your children for the possibility of being murdered in front of them? Because this is only some of what our brothers and sisters face on a daily basis. They hold on to Christ. They do not simply leave because if they did who would speak the Gospel to those who need to hear it.
I can not help but wonder how tightly I would hold onto Christ. How steadfast I would be in the face of all that.
I am guilty of not always standing in solidarity with them. Taking for granted the peace and security of my life. I forget to pray for them as often as I used to. A practice I have begun once again. To pray not only for them but for us. For us who have yet to face true persecution. Because we will. Let us love Christ so much that the price paid is our suffering. Let us be misunderstood.