Winning By Losing: Kevin H
From 2006 to 2015, it is reported that close to 900,000 Christians were martyred for their faith. Millions and millions more undoubtedly were persecuted, if not outright tortured for their faith. The large majority of these deaths and persecutions occurred in countries with totalitarian systems and/or governments and cultures which are openly hostile to Christianity.
Contemporaneously, there is a significant intersection of countries experiencing high rates of Christian growth where there is also great martyrdom and persecution of Christians. These are lands where Christians have little to no rights or freedoms and spend scant time trying to battle for them. Yet, the Christians living there are leading others to faith in Jesus Christ at numbers much higher than in many lands where Christians are free and sustain political privilege.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:10-12
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” – Matthew 5:38-44
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:5-8
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
It is said that many times those Christians living under great persecution often do not so much ask for prayer to remove the persecution but rather ask for prayer to have the strength to bear the persecution and stay strong in their faith.
Meanwhile in this country, we get all up in arms about our “rights” being violated by masks and vaccines, or that we’re being “invaded” and taken advantage of by “illegal” immigrants, or that others dare think they are still suffering injustices from systems they say are influenced from sins of the past, or that “cowards” and “sociopaths” are disrespecting our exalted national flag and anthem, or that our religious symbols are being removed or threatened to be removed from secular public squares, or that “they” are coming to take away our guns. All the while we compare these “atrocities” with those who suffered under Nazi and other historically ruthless regimes. And we cling to powerful people who while they may be anti-Christ in many of their ways, even those who say their favorite Bible verse is, “an eye for an eye,” directly contradicting Jesus’ admonition that this is no longer the way, but at least they “protect” us and our ways and stand up for our rights.
Is it any wonder why people are fleeing an identity with Christianity at unprecedented rates in this country and the Church is losing her influence in the culture?
(And, no, this loss has little to nothing to do with the media, or the Democrats, or CRT, or BLM, or the LGBTQ+ agenda, or anthem kneelers, or “totalitarian” governments mandating masks.)
Christ won by dying. The Early Church spread the Gospel by wildfire while being known for its love and taking care of those in need, often living under the threat of losing their own lives. The Church today we see is regularly most effective where it abides under real persecution.
The Church, as set by Jesus’ example, wins and advances by love and sacrifice, not by earthly power and an obsession with its own rights and sensibilities and need for control over the culture. For the well-being of our own souls and those of others, may we come to such a needed recognition sooner than later.