It’s that time of year again!!!!
Temperatures are dropping as the leaves on the trees also fall to earth. Clocks have been set back an hour and the evenings get dark so much earlier than before. In the stores some are already putting up Christmas decorations, even playing Christmas music. Many of my friends love this time and think it is never too early to begin playing Christmas music. Others feel we should at least get through Thanksgiving before playing the carols.
And the annual debate begins again!
OR is it:
NO – this post is not about that.
I have written plenty about that in the past. Let’s not beat a dead horse. If you really want to know what I think about that debate you can visit my earlier posts on the subject.
Do we “Keep Christ in Christmas” or “Keep Christmas in Christ?”
But every year as I hear how Christians in America are being persecuted I hear things like:
- People are saying “Happy Holidays” to me instead of “Merry Christmas.”
- They have taken prayer out of the schools (I think the Bible is clear prayer belongs in the home and I always wonder if those complaining about no prayer in the schools actually pray with their children at home).
- They want to take “In God we trust” off our money. Is your trust in God based on having that on your money? (And who uses money anyway these days.)
But is this really persecution?
Let me share some real persecution that is happening around the world.
- There are reports from North Korea of forced starvation of Christians and forced abortion. Some Christians have been hung on crosses over fire, and others have been crushed by steamrollers. Protestants and Catholics are ranked among those least sympathetic to the state, which limits their access to food, education, and health care. Christianity is linked with American influence, and Christians are executed as spies.
- In Sudan, the government’s pursuit of an extremist Islamist agenda led to orders to tear down Christian churches. Christians are arrested for alleged proselytism, and women face fines for wearing “obscene” or immodest dress. The government stripped citizenship rights of people with origins outside Sudan, leading many to leave for their ancestral homelands in South Sudan. Many had lived in their homes for three decades or more.
- In Pakistan, banned fundamentalist cells pose a great threat to Christians, but some charge that the government’s failure to crack down on these groups worsens the problem of violence. On Easter Sunday 2016 as many as 24 Christians were killed in targeted violence in Lahore. A faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
- Christians in Egypt suffered a major suicide bombing attack in December 2016 and again on Palm Sunday in April 2017. Dozens were killed and more injured in both attacks, for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
If you want to know the story of this smiling young man check out my post from last year:
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
Still feeling persecuted?
As we enter into the holiday season and begin decorating our homes, buying presents, planning parties and family events and baking dozens and dozens of cookies, I want to challenge you to spent some time thinking of those who are really being persecuted for their faith. Let’s follow the apostle Paul’s admonition and
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
My prayer is that all my readers will have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends enjoying all the blessings we have as Christians in the United States, but that you will also take some time to remember those who are really being persecuted for Christ.