Friday, December 30, 2011

Persecuted....really?

I don't know how many times I have heard a Christian complaining about how persecuted we have become in America.  The other day I was thinking this over and started looking at the things that we feel we are persecuted over.

1. The fact that we can't say a prayer in public school without getting in trouble, or praying in a public place and getting weird looks

2. The fact that Hollywood puts inappropriate things in movies

3. The fact that when checking out at Walmart, one must make sure to keep their focus straight ahead and not look at the magazine rack.

4. The fact that SOMETIMES we get made fun of for our faith. (like people making fun of our modest clothing, the fact that we aren't into the latest music, or how large our family is...)

5.  The fact that our faith can sometimes make situations awkward.

Yeah, that's about all I can come up with right now.  Seriously?

I think that we really over exagerate when we talk about being persecuted.  Honestly, we have tons of religious freedom compared to other countries.

In a video I saw, a guy tells his viewers, "It's clearly an inconvenience, but ah, nothing more...."   When we talk about being persecuted, we really mean that we have an inconvenience to deal with.  Having to close your eyes during scenes in a movie or watch where you eyes wander in the store or getting odd looks because you dress modestly does NOT mean you are being persecuted.  It is seriously an inconvenience and that's it. Nothing more.

My sister got a neat book for Christmas called "The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together" by Brother Andrew. It's basically about Andrew's life as he served the Lord.

The Forward is written by one of the guys in the Jars of Clay group.  Here is just a section of what he wrote that I want to share.

"In the Spring of 2000 I read an article about reliegious persecution in the Sudan.  Many more articles followed, along with some television reports, research, and a divinely appointed meeting with an activist named Steve Haas, the U.S. director of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
     It became very clear to me that sleeping behind church walls would not satisfy a God who hates injustice.  I had seen the pictures of toture victims.I had read the reports of women and children sold into slavery.  I had been confronted with the tales of murder, rape, and starvation.  But all I knew were stories that seemed to fill that morbid curiousity that draws us to car wrecks and real-life TV shows.  These people were not real to me.  They were not brothers and sisters.
     I needed to know these people.  I needed to hear them tell their stories.  I wanted to see how God met them.  It was this need that drove me and Jars of Clay to China and Vietnam to meet and pray with leaders of the underground church.
    We were never the same.
We cried with these people.  We rejoiced with them.  We laughed with them.  They laughed a lot- more than we thought possible, given their lives of suffering.  But it was in their struggles that they found great joy.  They are truly a suffering people, blessed by God."

That is just a small excerpt of the intro, but what a profound section it is!  The Christian Church in other countries is truly going through persecution.

Imagine living with a daily/nightly fear that at any moment, the police could come bursting through your door to drag you all into jail because of your beliefs.  Imagine, as a young woman, the fear of walking the streets because someone might rape you simply because you believe in Jesus.  Or, the never dying knowledge that you could be killed for it... or worse.

THAT is what persecution is.  What we are "going through" (if I can even title it as such) is NOTHING compared to what they live with daily.  I mean, they have to meet in SECRET to even worship the Lord together.  At least we get the chance to dress up, stand out from the crowd, and worship as we please.

Sure, maybe America will come to the point where we, as Christian, are being persecuted, but right now we are far from it.... and yet, look at the way we deal with it.  We are grumpy, upset, frustrated, etc.  Yet those people in the Underground church are worshipping with JOY!  They are joyful in the Lord, and they are being persecuted.  We are inconvenienced, and we are grumpy and frustrated. 

Persecution in America? No. It is clearly an inconvenience but nothing more.  I think that if we spent more time focusing on serving the Lord instead of worrying about all those menial things, then maybe we, too, will learn how to turn these "inconveniences" into an opportunity to be truly joyful.


I really can't stress how much it has suddenly frustrated me that the Church here in America can't act better. Now that is annoying.


In Christ's Service,
Sarah

8 comments:

Samantha said...

So very, very true. Thank you for sharing.

Prairie Momma said...

Wonderful post, and I can't agree with you more. When you hear stories about our brothers and sisters in CHRIST living in other countries, it almost makes me ashamed of how much we are blessed and how little we truly appreciate it. I THINK that I appreciate what I have and trust GOD and have strong faith, but when I hear what they go through.....oh, my. I feel like I'm a bay in my walk with GOD. I do pray that this year I find myself truly having JOY every day as I try to not take for granted all the freedom I have to truly worship and serve GOD. So, please encourage me to do so!!!

Kathleen said...

I've often reacted in the same way, Sarah. I think we're extremely naive when it comes to persecution. With our laws and even societal safeguards, we can hardly comprehend what persecution actually is. Being a bit picked on is hardly persecution. Do you think that maybe we become anxious for Christ's reign that we are emotionally pushing that time closer by believing that "the persecution" is here? But, then I hear of real persecution in other places and pray that Christ does come quickly. I'm like your mom, just so thankful for my freedom to believe and worship and serve. Thanks for the post.

Lilac Bud Gal said...

You're welcome, Samantha! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Momma,
Yup, I agree with one 100%. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

Mrs. M,
I think that is a really good thought, about us being anxious for His return. It is probably pretty true. Christians are just so anxious for Him to come back, that I think we get carried away. Which is almost funny because I think we should be so focused on serving Him and working on growing His kingdom instead of worrying about when He's coming back. True, it's good to be expecting Him, and we are supposed to keep watch, but maybe we've become obsessed with it. :) Thanks for your thoughts on this! I appreciate your sharing them.

Lily Marie said...

This couldn't be truer! I couldn't agree more. None of us (well, most of us) know really what true persecution is. And the thought of people killing/torturing us for Christ makes me excited for Jesus to come back!
I know we must face persecution eventually; Jesus promised it would come. I pray we will all find the strength to endure it when it does!

Lilac Bud Gal said...

Lily Marie,
Thank you for your comment! And I agree with you! What must it be like for those people, who ARE undergoing persecution, to know that their Lord will be coming back soon? It must give them quite a thrill! Sometimes I actually wish we WERE going through persecution, if only it would help me to have such a hungering for Him! I know that I can sometimes lag in my walk, but I don't want to.
Well, He will never give us more than we can bear... but once it has become more than we can bear, we know that He will be right there for us to give us the strength we need!
Thank you for your comment!

PrincessR said...

Very strong post, Sarah. I believe the thought of being persecuted is also because we can almost want it. Christ said that we would be persecuted because of Him. What a badge to add to our name to boast that we are persecuted.
After reading through this book, though, instead of wanting the glory of saying I am persecuted I want the glory of knowing that my life is totally directed by God- so totally that I have let go of control of my life.

Good post, Sarah!

ThinkGreen LovePurple said...

Hi,
I just found your blog and stumbled upon this post. This is just what I've been thinking lately, after hearing all these stories of persecution in other countries. The faith of Christians in other countries where persecution means life or death should be our example. Great post. :)