“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Persecution is not the experience of most Western Christians. Proclaiming the name of Jesus does not lead to the destruction of our homes, the murder of our families, or the breaking of our bones. The most powerful thing we might experience in the Western world is exclusion, weird looks, and hateful comments about our faith. However, for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, acknowledging their faith could result in losses that we can’t even imagine. For them, false accusations, legal difficulty, imprisonment, torture, and death are the expected consequences of faith in Jesus Christ. Believers who choose to follow Christ despite the imminent threat that decision brings upon them meekly accept that their reward is in heaven. Paul wrote this to the Corinthian Church in regards to his persecution:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” - 2 Corinthians 4:7-11
“It is unnatural – maybe even wrong – to keep one’s love for Jesus entirely to oneself. I cannot tell my wife. Or my children. Or my parents. I found Christ in a dream, and only He knows I follow him. But I have to, or I’m dead.” - Saudi Christian
One of the most powerful things we can do to support our persecuted brother and sisters is to pray! If you feel led to pray for specific persecuted families and imprisoned individuals, you can subscribe to https://www.icommittopray.com/requests/.
We can trust our God to be with us always. We are persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. If you would like more information on the persecution faced by Christians worldwide, there are many eye-opening articles on the following website:https://www.persecution.org/category/news/.