By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
GROVE, OK (ANS – August 7, 2016) — “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”— 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV).
What does it mean to you to be persecuted for your faith? Most of us automatically think of those in other countries where believers, are dying because they refuse to renounce their belief in Jesus Christ. Places like Kenya, Pakistan, Nigeria, Libya, Uganda and Syria come to mind.
While there are other countries, most of us in America pay no heed to the stories of those who are killed for their faith. We sit in our comfortable pews on Sunday morning, participate in church activities and have no clue what it means to die for our beliefs. While there have been incidences in our country where Christians have been murdered in a church setting, they are not commonplace.
We take for granted our freedom to worship each Sunday in our chosen denomination. We read our Bibles without fear of having to conceal it. We can talk openly about our faith in the media and on the street corners, if we so choose. We aren’t afraid to share what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. The word persecution usually doesn’t enter into our vocabulary.
As a Christian columnist, I promote my writing worldwide via my blog and social media. While I’ve received emails from believers around the globe, I’ve also encountered hatred from non-believers as well.
Recently, I received a message in response to a tweet I’d posted on Twitter. For those who are unfamiliar with this online social networking service, users are only allowed 140-character messages to convey their thoughts. It requires creativity and abbreviations to communicate.
The message I received from this non-believer was hostile. He questioned my blog post about God’s mercy. His message, in short, wondered why God would allow people to suffer if He was merciful. He questioned why I believed in a deity who would allow children to be born with hideous defects or to be stricken with disease.
As a Christian, it’s difficult to answer this question. At least it is for me.
Christian scholar, C.S. Lewis once said, “The ‘problem of pain,’ is atheism’s most potent weapon against the Christian faith.”
I had no answer for the barrage of questions this unbeliever posed—and there were many—too many for me to answer in 140 characters. My faith was under attack but I remained civil, explaining why I chose to believe in Jesus Christ.
His hostility grew with each tweet, making me wonder what had happened to this individual that he would hate God so much. I wasn’t offended by this person’s hateful remarks. However, I stood up for my beliefs. My Almighty Creator has proven to me, more than once, how much He loves me.
In Matthew 5:44 Jesus tells us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
While it’s not our first response to pray for those who disagree, question and even persecute us, I know this stranger will be in mine.
Photo captions: 1) Persecution of Christians in Pakistan. 2) C.S. Lewis, writing. 3) Carol Round.
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