Sometime in the future?
Judge: "Does the jury have a verdict?"
Jury Foreman: "Yes, your honor."
Jury Foreman: "We, the jury, in the aforementioned case, do find the defendant guilty of being a Christian. We further find him/her guilty of three counts of illegal possession of a Bible, unlawful assembly with other Christians, and the forbidden proclamation of their message in public. For the high crime of treason, in this case the willful expression of allegiance to a higher authority than the government, we do hereby pronounce the death penalty."
In many areas of the world, being a Christian puts your life at risk.
It hasn’t happened in this country…yet.
But there is a much subtler persecution going on.
It’s very apparent that our country is being flooded with anti-Christian messages. Especially in the media. It is no longer "politically correct" to be a believer. We are considered "exclusive" and "hateful" and "narrow-minded." Those are some of the kinder names.
Have you faced this persecution?
Sometimes I find myself a bit isolated from it. Not intentionally, I am mostly surrounded by other believers. At church, in my Bible Study, in my small group. The Body of Christ is alive and well even in Blog Land.
All of my close friends are Christians.
But my sons, in their 20’s, experience a different world. Many of their friends are not. And they often find themselves on the "other" side of the fence when it comes to entertainment, and money, and socializing, and values.
It’s been this way for a while –
Even when my kids were in elementary school, we had to change Easter Break to Spring Break, and the Christmas Program magically morphed into the Holiday Program. My nephew, who’s in high school, only said the Pledge of Allegiance on Mondays last year – the rest of the week they read a "patriotic" piece.
It’s the whole mention of GOD that is so offensive these days.
Today’s "Bible Pick ‘Ems" reminded me of this sinful shift that is occurring in America – this move away from its Biblical beginnings, and its Christian values.
It takes place right before the fall of Jerusalem, during the reign of King Zedekiah. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man. He was one of the kings who "did evil in the sight of the Lord."
And disaster was looming on the horizon…
"The LORD, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people…But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the LORD’S anger could no longer be restrained…" (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)
The next verse is the frightening conclusion to this willful turning away from God.
"So the LORD brought the king of Babylon against them."
Friends, I never want to be a purveyor of doom and gloom. It’s not my style. But when I read these verses, I took them as a good "wake-up call."
Persecution is real. We will be mocked, and our words will be despised. People will scoff at us...
It’s what happens when you stand up for the Lord.
And things may get worse. I pray not – I pray for a revival in this country. A changing in the hearts of its people. I pray for God to move mightily.
But in the meantime, we're going to suffer – for our message, for our values, for our Lord.
It’s OK – He has a great promise for us.
"God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven." (Matthew 5:11)
Are you feeling any persecution in your life? Are you willing to stand against it?
For me to live is Christ…
"When in doubt, search God out!"