NASHVILLE (Christian Examiner) -- A New England writer with a background in biblical studies and psychology delivers a forceful and provocative look at why Christians are the target of killers.
This is a message for those who persecute, torture, imprison, and kill Christians. We know why you're killing us -- do you?
Killing Christians is a practice as old as Christianity, Those who practice it do nothing more than imitate their predecessors. Predecessors who attempted but failed to snuff out the life of our faith in its infancy. The practice of persecution is hard for some to fathom but it's actually an understandable act. In fact, I can think of at least ten reasons to kill a Christian:
- Because you can.That's right. We serve a living God, the God of miracles, the resurrection God, the force of all life but we, His followers, are vulnerable. We die. Easily. When we die beneath your boot or with your hands around our throats, you feel powerful, strong, justified.You're misinformed. Deluded, even. The only power you have is confined to this life. When we vanish from your sight, we enter the presence of the Living God. We trust Him with vengeance. Read Revelation 7. Our voices reach His throne every moment of every day.
- Our refusal to renounce our faith makes you doubt your own.We scare you. We know that. It's frightening to be unable to force someone to join in your delusion. What scares you more is that others might join us, leaving you – weakening your position. You can't let that happen. But, I'll let you in on a secret: your plan to end our faith by killing us off backfires.
- One of us offended you.One of us behaved badly or explained plainly the fact that you, too, are a sinner in need of a Savior or that the god you worship is no God. It offended you, challenged your sense of self-righteousness. Since forgiveness isn't in your wheelhouse, your only recourse is to lash out. But killing us won't stop the offense of the cross. It will come back at you. This, I know.
- To win favor with your god, your government, or your local dictator.Someone told you to kill a Christian and promised if you did, you'd be with the in-crowd, you'd belong, you'd fit in with those in power. They lie. The only One you need to be in with is the One we serve – Jesus Christ. Resist those who hand out orders to kill and destroy. You're likely next on their list.
- To make the voices stop.We know about the voices. They're persistent and demanding. Nothing makes them stop. You think your only choice is to obey them. I promise you the name of Jesus is more powerful than the voices. Rather than kill a believer, become one. It's the only way to end your slavery to the voices. Call on the name of Jesus Christ and His will be the only voice you hear.
- Because our allegiance to Jesus comes before all others.That messes with your plans for world domination. That messes with your plans for household domination. That messes with your plans to rule your world. If we recognize a higher power, you can be overruled and we can't be controlled. Destroying us is your only chance at security on the throne. Listen to me – your reign is a sham and your throne rests on shifting sand. Killing us is only a temporary stop gap to your imminent overthrow.
- Because we'll forgive you.That's right. Oppress us, arrest us, beat us, lock us away, kill us dead and we'll still forgive you. Why? Because Jesus forgave his executioners – us. Our forgiveness will outlive you and your weapons. Our forgiveness will ring through heaven's halls eternally and free us from you forever.
- To silence the truth.We are truth tellers, all of us. This is what we do. We tell the truth. You are a disciple of deception and when we speak, we are the yes to your no, the love to your hate, the alive to your dead. You think killing us will silence us – it won't. It will multiply the delivery of our message as if your bullets burst our voices like milkweed pods sending seeds of His truth flying in the Wind.
- You love darkness and we bring the light, exposing your deeds.You cling to the shadows. You scurry from light like a cockroach. Every plot you hatch relies on total darkness to develop but Christians bring the light, foiling your schemes. Destroying us is your only hope of success. But ask yourself this, if your success relies on our destruction, what is the source of your power? The power to destroy pales beside the power to build, to construct, to create, to grow. That is the power of light . Life trumps death. Light triumphs over darkness . Haven't you read the playbook? Light wins in the end.
And the primary reason you kill Christians? 10. The power behind you uses you like a marionette in his futile attempt to steal us from God's hand before he is destroyed forever, hoping to take you down with him. That's right. You're a puppet, a pawn. This, however, will be no protection when you are called to account by the final judge. The only hope you have is the hope the Christians are trying to get you to see – Jesus. Only Hecan save you on that day.
Pray for believers persecuted and marked for martyrdom. Pray more for those who participate in their persecution, who orchestrate their deaths, these are truly the walking dead but they, too, can find eternal life through Jesus Christ.
You may find one hundred reasons to kill Christians but here is truth: you don't take our lives, we lay them down, in the name of Jesus Christ. He gives us life eternal, life unending, life to the full.
What's waiting for you on the other side?
For more information on praying for persecuted Christians go to www.persecution.org . Persecution of the followers of Jesus is on the rise and this is why I have repeated this post. Those of us who are free need to use our freedom to intercede for our suffering brothers and sisters.
-- Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a Christian author whose book Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus) was published in 2014. From New England, she has authored a blog "Disturber of Hobbits" since 2009. Her website is www.loriroeleveld.com. This article was first published on her blog and used with permission.