1 Corinthians 12:26 says that we are one body. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Has anyone, anywhere, including the time of the early church, ever really cared when Christians were being persecuted? Have they? I think it’s a fair question. And it’s a question that we American Christians might ought to start asking.
For decades, American Christians have lived in complete safety. There has never been a time, since the establishment of this nation, that Christians had anything to fear regarding their faith and the freedom to practice that faith out loud, right out in the open. The right to practice one’s faith without fear of reprisal was one of the basic tenants for the founding of this country all Americans call home. In fact, I imagine our forefathers would not have been able to comprehend that this nation would ever sway from the Judeo-Christian ideals upon which this country was built, and that countless people gave their lives to bring to this land; principles that have carried this young country to prosperity the likes of which has never before been witnessed in human history. I mean, why would they, right?
When I was a kid, my school day at Pinson Elementary School started out with two things. We stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and we sat quietly for Bible scripture reading. There were no sermons. No one made any attempts to interpret those scriptures; they were just presented to us as a start to our day. And no one could imagine anyone ever having a problem with that. We respected our teachers, and were just a little afraid of them, knowing that if we got in trouble at school, a second bit of trouble would be waiting for us when we got home. Seriously.
In less than one generation’s time, those days are gone. Gone forever, most likely.
We have stood by and allowed the freedoms we took for granted as youngsters slip away to the point that our children will have no concept of the nation in which we were blessed to grow up. In saying good-bye to those foundational, Christian principles, we have said sayonara to the strong family. The lives of unborn children no longer matter; their body parts for sale to the highest bidder, and it’s anything goes with marriage. And your gender? You get to choose. Phooey on your DNA.
The majority of the kids in America are growing up without a dad in the picture, and the majority of the fathers never bothered marrying their baby’s mom in the first place. We are cranking out kids without them knowing what it feels like to have the security of an intact family and wondering why we have a generation of messed up kids who couldn’t find moral north with a compass. It’s not their fault. It’s ours.
So why should anyone care that an armed gunman shot and killed those students in Oregon simply because they were Christians? Christians, ourselves, have not cared enough to stand up for the principles that guided our lives for so long… why should we expect anyone else to care if some lunatic decides to go shooting innocent Christians just because they can. And why can they? Because we have made it easy for them to do it.
Our “Whatever” society has led us to this time in our country. We care more about what celebrity is sleeping with what other celebrity, and how quickly we can post photos of our inviable lives on social media than we do about what we are teaching our kids. We are distracted, ambivalent and self-absorbed.
My original question was this. Has anyone, anywhere, since the time of the early church, ever really cared when Christians were being persecuted? I don’t really think so. And why is that? I can’t speak to the early church times… I wasn’t there. But now? I think no one cares because we don’t really care. According to research, 2014 was the worst year ever worldwide for the persecution of Christians. Worst. Ever. Did you know that? I didn’t. Why? Because the media isn’t feeding it to me. That news, I had to dig for myself. North Korea, Iraq, Syria, and Somalia are the worst offenders. Did you know that? I didn’t. I mean I’m not surprised, but I didn’t know.
In our country today, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Christians just aren’t making enough noise. We are weak. In my previous post, I talked about meekness. I think some Christians confuse meekness with weakness. We have the power of the Holy Spirit, the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, living within us. That’s some kind of power, y’all. We are not called to go quietly into the dark night… we are called to stand firm… like that tree planted by the water whose roots grow deep and whose fruit multiplies. We are supposed to prosper (Psalm 1:3). I think it’s time we wake from our slumber. If we, as followers of Christ, don’t care for the Body of Christ here and around the world, who will? We are one Body.
When one of us suffers, we all suffer.