Christians have long suffered persecution

Published 8:27 am Tuesday, February 15, 2022

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: There’s a lot of talk today about Christians being persecuted but it doesn’t seem the same as during the time of the martyrs who were burned at the stake for their faith in Jesus Christ. – P.P.

Dear P.P: When we think of persecution, we rarely think of the kind of attack for sharing our faith that was commonplace when Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. In those days, persecution meant beatings, arrest, imprisonment, even death. Yet the Bible and all of history are full of instances where bold men and women chose persecution over denial of our Lord.
Today, many of us think we are doing God a favor when we tell someone about Christ. We think we’re suffering real persecution when someone makes light of our faith. There are places in the world where Christians can still be jailed for sharing their faith or face the death penalty for leading someone to Christ.
To some, the Christian faith has become a cheap faith because many people often live as if it has no value. There’s complaint when the preacher runs over a few minutes on the Sunday sermon, while others consider it a great inconvenience to even go to church. No wonder so much of the world does not consider our faith relevant when we are not even willing to give of our time, much less our freedom or lives, for what we say we believe.
It’s a good practice to ask ourselves if we’ve been persecuted for sharing our faith in Christ. If not, we should re-examine our faith to see if it measures up to the One who said, “Blessed are you when [people] revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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