So, have you been persecuted, recently?
Persecution is “the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion, or social outlook.”
I recently read a news story about a Christian pastor in India who was arrested and charged, something about not respecting other religions. He talked about Christian things in his Christian service, and the police arrested him; in India! I tried to find the story again, and I couldn’t. There were too many stories like it:
Where I live, some people who opposed COVID restrictions claim that they were persecuted for their beliefs. Whatever we think about COVID protests, we can see the mechanism of persecution. People with ideas that threaten power can be punished and silenced. Imagine telling the authorities to slash vehicle tires.
You don’t have to imagine that:
And here is another crackdown:
So, peaceful democratic countries have the potential to persecute people.
Persecution is a normal part of life, in most places. In western, industrialized countries, we have had mostly peaceful times, for years, and we may have forgotten what real persecution is. In other parts of the world, people know exactly what persecution feels like. I think the basic drive for modern persecution is dislike for the ‘competition’.
Anyone can be perceived as a threat, including Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, truckers, and anyone I left out. Other ideas can be a threat to the power. People, who have something that they value, can fight to put down any threat. They don’t hate us, they feel threatened.
Jesus told Christians two thousand years ago, that they would be persecuted. “There will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers” (Luke 21:12).
I am a Christian, and I know that believers are a threat to power in many places. In North America, I think we have lost that concept. In places like India and China, there are official beliefs, religions, or ideologies, that want to be the controlling belief. The majority in India follow Hinduism, and China is governed by a Communist Party.
Majorities don’t like minorities, especially when they grow and their numbers threaten.
Christians in China don’t like to be counted, they prefer to keep a low profile, but China now has so many Christians that they may outnumber Communists. China may also have the largest number of Christians in any country in the world.
Did you know? India is governed by Hindu nationalists, and there are several large minorities, including Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians. The Christians, a minority, are often under pressure because their numbers are growing.
The news is, we were promised a time of great persecution; one time. I don’t think we have seen the great final effort, but Jesus told us it was coming. The evidence is growing that he called it correctly.
Whatever we think about the beliefs, people who believe can be at risk.
So, have you been persecuted lately? One way to scare powerful people is to follow Jesus.
That is a promise.