Friday, May 3, 2013

Persecuted but not crushed

Act IV
Final scene
setting: Galilee, mountaintop
the disciples, Jesus
Jesus enters....

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Curtain. Lights out.



Those are the last recorded words of Jesus while he was still on the earth. His final command. Make disciples. Share my love. Otherwise known as the Great Commission.

But he never promised that it would be easy. On the contrary he warned us about persecution and opposition.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12

Recent statements by the Pentagon have raised some eyebrows in the Christian community. Statement such as “Religious proselytizing is not permitted within the Department of Defense. Court-martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases.”
The definition of proselytizing, according to Webster Dictionary is “to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause”. The definition of evangelizing , according to Webster dictionary is “to preach the gospel to; to convert to Christianity”. It is a very fine line between the two and it would appear that Christian rights are being attacked.

What are we, Christians, to do? 
Rejoice! Yes rejoice!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
We are to evangelize following Jesus’ commands and when face with this kind of situation he commanded us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).

Friends I urge you to pray and love on those who are attacking the basic right of sharing your faith. More things will be done for the Kingdom if we follow his commands. Let us not respond with harsh words but with love. Let us not point the finger and belittle those who do not believe but pray for them.
Let’s forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).