We watched a film yesterday at CIY Move called “Love Costs Everything.” It is a movie on the persecution of Christians in other countries. It was a pretty intense film to watch before we headed off for our beach day. I had the privilege of getting to see the film twice and I have to be honest the impact was greater the second time than the first. It is one thing to know that persecution happens, it is another to see images and hear first hand accounts from the people who have faced it.
So how does one unwrap something like this? How do we respond? As Americans the first question we ask is what can I do to fix it. It is a common response for us because we want to fix everything but this is something we cannot and should not desire to fix. The Scripture is clear that persecution will continue to happen. Paul tells us in II Timothy 3:12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” It is going to continue but what should our response to it be?
First, we need to respond by praying. We should pray daily for the saints who are being persecuted. We should pray that they are given strength to endure and courage to continue to speak God’s word in the face of this temptation. If you need help with what to pray for check out some websites like Voice of the Martyrs. They have excellent resources and up to date news about persecution in the world. You can even sign up for prayer updates.
Another thing you can do is bring this persecution to the attention of your church. Share with your church what is happening. Maybe even show the movie “Love Costs Everything” at your church when it becomes available (I heard from Jayson French this film may be going to theaters first, we should know soon). Do what it takes to bring to light what is happening to our brothers and sisters in other countries.
Lastly, write letters to the persecuted. Through Voice of the Martyr’s you can write letters to those who are being or have been persecuted to encourage them. Hebrews 13:3 says “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” We can encourage them and let them know they are not alone in their endeavors to increase the impact of the gospel. Also check out Prisoner Alert, a ministry of Voice of the Martyr’s that gives up to day information on those being held for their faith.
Seeing a film like this should change us. We should be more thankful of our religious freedom in the US and act upon it. Allow it to make a difference in our church attendance and our desire to serve. When we share the gospel with someone we do not have the threat of being killed for our faith, yet the chance of someone thinking less of us is enough for us to not share the gospel. Allow the faith, desire and courage of these persecuted saints affect our lives so we can also become courageous for Christ. Mark Christian said it best, “I would rather die with Jesus in the fire than to go to the fire without Him.”