Today I would like to write about a topic that moves me quite a bit, but that the world public is not so directly aware of. Especially not in Germany. There is freedom of religion (almost) everywhere – at least on paper. Nevertheless, there are blatant human rights violations in many countries. And that is why I would like to draw attention to this.
There are about 260 million Christians in the world (source: OpenDoors) who are persecuted because of their faith. Over a quarter of a billion people!
The persecution has many faces: It starts with the deliberate denial of permits for the construction of churches, through difficult study conditions to prison and death. Some lose their jobs because of it. Some are kidnapped by extremists. If you want to know more, click here.
The phenomenon is not new. Already the first Christians were persecuted: First, by the Jewish clergy in whose service Saul was. Later, after an incisive experience, he became Paul and a fervent propagator of the Gospel. On the other hand, they were persecuted by the Roman rulers. Today it is still the same: In many countries persecution is done by people of other faiths and by the rulers.
Jesus experienced persecution from the beginning (keyword: Herod) and predicted it already for the Christians:
Remember the word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my word, they will also keep yours.John 15:20
Or in the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall speak all manner of evil against you, and shall lie against you, because of me. Be glad and rejoice; you will be richly rewarded in heaven. For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11 & 12
Many have to suffer. But they fix their eyes on God and endure these sufferings. This is certainly not always easy. But especially in countries where persecution is strong, the church is growing! Miracles happen again and again that even the persecutors turn to Jesus. And that gives hope. Because the good news of Jesus – the gospel – has an incredible explosive power!
What can we do?
What can we do now for the persecuted people? What can we do to prevent this from happening to us?
- Pray. Prayer always helps! Because God hears and helps! It helps the persecuted brothers and sisters to know that their fellow believers are praying for them.
- Letter. To ambassadors of the preceding countries. To our governments. To our brothers and sisters in the faith for encouragement. Often there are writing campaigns from relief organizations that are easy to participate in.
- Be vigilant. Let’s not let it come to this in our countries. Even in Germany or Austria, people are discriminated against, criticized and harassed because of their faith (no matter what religion they belong to). Some opinions based on the Bible are – let’s say – uncomfortable for some here.
- Compassion. We Christians from all over the world belong to the ONE body of Christ. We must not care if there are people in prison in the world because of their faith in Jesus! Let us not forget them.
- Share wealth. If we may not be able to do anything practical ourselves, we can support organizations like OpenDoors, Samaritian’s Purse, Christian Freedom or Bethany Global University.
Thank you for reading!