Persecution: Where Is It?
Last night was scary – I mean, I was really, really scared. I was with some of my youth group, and we were out at a football field, all wearing cool matching shirts that said “Servant Life” on them doing what we have all been called to do – share the gospel. We decided to do what we had done the week before – walk around a pass out tracts, play with the kids, and pass out hot chocolate and water bottles. And I was there passing the tracts out to a group of kids who seemed to be standing in a group on the track around the football field – and I began to ask them questions. But as I was nearing the end, about to give them the good news, two moms walked up – and suddenly I felt scared. Before, I had felt right at home sharing with the kids, but when the moms walked up, I felt something come over me. I guess you could call it fear. Before I knew it, they had the kids back to practicing whatever they had been practicing (cheer leading or something like that). It was amazing how fast things turned around. I can hardly explain the feeling – a feeling of shame, perhaps, of what I was saying.
The encounter last night got me thinking today, especially when I ran across an article from the Persecution Blog asking why is there no persecution in the United States. And the article hit me hard.
With all this anti-Christian sentiment, why isn’t the United States rife with persecution similar to what is seen coming out of Asia and Africa? One of the reasons is that our constitution is rooted in the Bible, but another key reason is greatly overlooked. Christians in the U.S. seem to be more intimidated by a politically correct socialist agenda than believers abroad are fearful of persecution under the flags of Islam, communism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. There are few places in this country where you can find Christians talking about their faith outside of church. Because most workplaces, schools, and government-run institutions discourage or disallow proselytizing, this is good enough for most Bible-believing Americans to leave their faith at their front doors. Putting our jobs, tolerant reputations, and unblemished records on the line are apparently prices that most of us consider too high to pay for sharing our faith (emphasis mine).
I quickly realized that when those ladies walked up, I was scared. And why should I be? Why should I have a fear? What were they going to do to me? Then I realized that I was doing just as the Persecution Blog had said – I and others are hiding. We’re hiding behind blogs, behind church pews, behind offices, behind our doorsteps. We are afraid of sharing the gospel with everyone we meet. We’re afraid of being called “annoying” Christians. Jesus-Freaks, weirdos, or the worst of them all: a proselytizer. No one wants to jeopardize what they have. Be honest. You do not want to lose what you have here in America. You don’t want to lose your reputation as the “nice guy.” You don’t want to lose your dignity. You don’t want to lose your pride.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Oh, I fear the day that American Evangelicalism stands before the throne of God. Are you ready?
*Note: For those who read this post before seeing this note, there was an original error that I didn’t catch. An entire paragraph was missing from the beginning, giving the impression that I was asking the little girls about why there was no persecution in the United States, when in fact I was asking them how they did when they took the “good person” test. I apologize for the mistake.