Spiritual

Is Christian persecution a blessing in disguise ?

PatienceIncreasing persecution of Christians across the globe is a cause of grave concern. Sadly, Christians today are facing worst degree of persecution than followers of any other religion across the world.

By Sheraz Khurram Khan: The warped masterminds of atrocious forms of persecution against Christians perhaps think that they would be able to mislead His sheep but paradoxically even the horrendous forms of persecution have only made the victims further cement in Him. Sufferings in His name only help them draw mammoth strength to carry their Cross every day without any fear. Persecution, of course, looks awkward by it appearance but in its core lies the intangible blessings. Fruits of persecution are sweeter than honey. It looks like a honeycomb, which looks rough and tough from the outside but contains it in the sweetness that nature has not given to another thing.

Persecution should come as no surprise to Christians:

Persecution dates back to Jesus Christ’s times and should come as no surprise to His believers today as they know that the world that hated their Master would also look down upon them for their allegiance to the one who ensured their salvation by laying down His life. Believers in parts of the world where they are relatively more vulnerable to persecution perhaps learn more what it takes to be a Christian than their brothers and sisters who open their eyes in predominantly Christian states.

Scale of Christian persecution is higher in Islamic countries:

In Islamic Republic of Pakistan for instance where Pakistani Christians are persecuted under pretext of one discriminatory law or another still testify to Christ and brave all sufferings in His name. It would not be wrong to assume that for them (Pakistani Christians) as well as for the persecuted Christians across the globe the monster of persecution is in fact a blessing in disguise for them. It ripens their faith in Him, dawns upon them the stark reality that they have to bear world’s hatred as a ransom for their allegiance to Him.

Rimsha Masih, a minor accused of blasphemy has just been acquitted after a local Muslim cleric was accused of fabricating a plot against a poor Christian girl.

Though condemnable by all means persecution helps its victims develop a more personal and deeper relationship with God. It may be akin to a pot where faith is tried and tested and it is perhaps during this phase of trial and tribulation in His name the sufferer gets deeply rooted in Him. Abundant blessings and fruits lie in wait for all those who suffer persecution in His name.

Hundreds of believers give their lives only because of their Christian faith. Some are shot dead, others critically tortured and yet others are given to animals as a “pleasant” sacrifice to the gods they worship, which is the terrible form of persecution.

The volatile Muslim temperament breeds violence :

The most recent incidence of violence after a movie “Innocence of Muslim”  unleashed the fury in Pakistan after the people made country wide protest and riots  which led to several innocent killings in Pakistan.

The printing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the west was interpreted as an attack on Islam by the Muslim world that triggered string of violent protest rallies across the world. In Pakistan alone five people were killed in Pakistan during staging of anti-cartoon protest demonstrations.

The hard-line elements in the Muslim world that are always quick to hijack such issues to further their hate agenda made insane demands on their respective governments to grind their own axe. The demands ranged from calling back of Muslim diplomats, to boycotting western products.

Religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries bear the brunt of hatred following occurrence of any incident perceived by Muslims as an assault on their faith. Muslim wrath subsides at attacking, stoning and torching of churches, plunging the oppressed Christians in grip of fear and insecurity.

Fruits of Persecution

Early Church faced persecution to its fullest. They were thwarted by Romans to propagate the faith they held so lovingly to their breasts but it did not falter them from their faith rather they spread the word more convincingly to all four corners of the world.

Persecution indeed is like a blood to a Christian life. How could the world be evangelized by this raw bunch of believers who knew nothing about knowledge but about fishing and trading ?

They were so scared from the world that they locked themselves up from the fear of authorities after Christ was crucified. It was then the heavy blow from the world which stirred them up and enlivened their hopes that they stepped out not only from that locked room but from Judea, Samaria and then to the end of the earth.

Persecution unfolded the wrapped blessings, they never knew it then all they knew was that world hated them. It was exactly what their master told them once “If the world hates you, you know it hated me before it hated you”. (John 15:18).

Persecution on Christians is prophetic. We know why it happens ? Because Jesus suffered hostility from sinners against Himself first and Bible calls Him “First Fruit” and “First Adam” .So those who follow Him, will suffer it as well.

Does that mean we give our faith away ? Does that mean hide our Christian faith ? Of course not but like Apostle Paul we ought to say “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Heb. 10:39). Persecution should not be a stumbling block to a believer.

It is often linked to Christ’s second coming. Christians throughout history are the suffering lot and in every time and age Christian persecution brought the thought of Christ’s second coming.

In the days of Nero persecution on Christian was so rampant that Christians thought that it was the end of the world but that was not the end and persecution on them became a ceaseless series of torture and torment which will finish only when Christ will appear in His second coming to take His bride back to Father’s place, which will be the picture of perfect peace, joy, and Happiness.

Persecuted Christians become the fervent followers of Christ. Apostle Paul is the prime example of this, whose chronicles of persecution did not deter him from pursuing Christ on the contrary ; it rather put the imperishable zeal to work for Him by whom he was persecuted. Those persecuted do not live for this world then, their focus, their lives, their standard, everything changes for them just in the ticking of the clock that regardless of their pain and agony they set their eyes on the author and finisher of their fate— Jesus Christ.

Life is a precious gift of God. It is not earned by silver or gold but those who taste the spice of persecution are the more productive and fertile for the Kingdom of God than those who do not.

The blessed savior once said “He who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 10:39).

The life of the persecuted Christians as whole becomes the Fifth Gospel and open, living, and walking testimony to the world, because those who are persecuted do not shame to present Christ to the world. Their lives yield fruits for the body of Christ. They become the occasion of bringing people to Christ.

P.S : I am thankful to Shahid Shahbaz Khan for his incredible help in the writing of this article.

Source: Assist News Service

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One Response to Spiritual

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