Not many years ago our knowledge of Christian persecution was based on what the Roman Empire did to Christians and random acts of violence that happened in some far off land. ISIS changed all of that. Their videos showed the killing of Christians in the Middle East. With that in mind, I wanted to share the findings of Nik Ripken who has researched persecution in over 60 countries by talking to those who have survived persecution. Following are his thoughts.
“Persecution is a negative reaction to the incarnate presence of Jesus among His people. The negative reaction can take many forms and it can come from many different sources. Persecution can come from society as a whole, from the government, from an ideological entity, or from families and individuals. Persecution may be overt (open) or covert (hidden). It can be physical or psychological. Persecution can be actual or merely threatened. Regardless of its form, however, THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF PERSECUTION IS TO SILENCE WITNESS. AT ITS WORST, PERSECUTION DENIES PEOPLE ACCESS TO JESUS.”
“As strange (and as horrifying) as it sounds, we came to realize that believers could be unwittingly complicity with the persecutors by simply refusing to share their faith. Just like persecution, the refusal to share the faith denies people access to Jesus. It was a startling thought to realize that the persecutor’s use of violence to inhibit the faith and the believer’s refusal to speak openly of Jesus yield the same result. In both cases, people are denied access to Jesus. How tragic that the silence of believers could yield the same result as the violence of persecutors! On the other hand, when we share our faith boldly and refuse to silence our witness, we are powerfully identifying with believers in persecution.”
“When we witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we identify with those in chains. When we refuse to witness, we identify with those who place the chains on followers of Jesus.”
–Nik Ripken – The Insanity of Obedience (Emphasis mine)
These quotes are some of Mr. Ripken’s insights from his extensive research on the persecuted church. It is startling to realize that when we don’t share our faith, we are having the effect Satan desires, by persecuting the believers in Jesus Christ. We are preventing access to Jesus.
Reflect on that today.
May you walk in Holy Spirit power today to be a living witness for Jesus Christ.