"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. " -Matthew 5:10
When I think about persecution my mind immediately drifts back to the early church. The time where Christians were brutally murdered for the sake of following Christ.
I don't think of it happening in the year 2011.
I have a hard time calling anything I have ever faced a persecution, when I think of it in the light of the persecution so many others have faced. Being a Christian isn't always popular, and I have faced opposition of sorts...but, I can't say that I have ever feared that by standing up for Christ I would lose my life.
The sad thing is...persecution still goes on around the world.
In the year 2011, people around the world are persecuted for their identification of Christ.
It is just so far removed from our reality that it is easy to forget. Above is a current map of countries where Christians are persecuted for being a follower of Christ.
The more I thought about it, the more saddened my heart began to feel. It sickens me to think about the trouble these people go through. Not having the freedom to worship God.
But I also began to think of how casually we treat the privileges we have. We are FREE to go to Church and praise the Lord. We are FREE to tell our neighbors and friends about the love of God.
We are FREE to stand up for God...but so often we don't.
Why? Because it isn't popular. Because the gospel offends.
Yet all the while Christians are standing up for the Lord in these countries where taking a stance may very possibly mean losing their life.
It just made me wonder...would we stand up for Christ no matter the consequence?