Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 17, 2009

Expect Opposition

   I received e-mail from a missionary friend serving in South Asia. He wrote to inform me that two national believers had been arrested for sharing their faith. My friend wrote, “The police took [them] to their office. They beat them, electrocuted them, and threw them in a dark cell. The police told them that since they could not bring charges against them for making Christians, they would arrest them on false charges.” Unfortunately, this is not the first time these and other national evangelists in this country have suffered such abuse at the hands of local authorities.

   For many believers in our world today, actual physical persecution is part of the equation of following Christ. Many of these believers choose to stand firm in their faith knowing that they very likely will suffer some type of abuse. When threatened with opposition, we must choose whether to identify with Christ and suffer as a result or to permit that opposition to deter us from being faithful to Christ. Here is a broad-stroke summary of what Jesus shared with His disciples about persecution.

Hatred (John 15:18-20) | The world hates those who are identified with Christ. Jesus taught His disciples that they would experience the hatred and opposition of the world. He added that the world hated Him first and would not treat them any better.

Ignorance (John 15:21-24a) | Jesus explained that the world’s hatred is fueled by spiritual ignorance. Jesus’ life, words, and works made people uncomfortable about their sin. Those who refused to believe in Jesus were without excuse for their sin.

Rejection (John 15:24b-25) | In spite of evidence that indicated Jesus is the Christ and God’s Son, many refused to believe in Jesus. Instead, they hated Him, thus fulfilling what was written in their Law.

Persecution (John 16:1-4) | Jesus warned His disciples about persecution so that they would not be caught off guard when it came. He said that the hatred of the world would manifest itself in expulsion from the synagogue and even death.

   While in Lima, Peru, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition. The instruments of torture displayed in this museum are a sobering reminder of what misguided religious zeal can do. Many believers in the world today still face the threat of death from misguided religious inquisitors. For example, my friends in Orissa, India have felt the full fury of the hatred of their Hindu neighbors over the past year. Most have suffered the loss of property and some have lost their lives.

   We will likely never experience the kind of suffering endured by the men my missionary friend e-mailed me about or that my friends in Orissa have suffered. But perhaps as a Christian you have been the target of some measure of ridicule, reproach, or insults (Luke 6:22; 2 Corinthians 12:10). Perhaps you have been taunted because of your godly lifestyle, because you refuse to participate in certain activities, or because your views are informed by a biblical worldview. Regardless of the form opposition takes, we should expect it because the world is hostile to the kingdom of God. And, expecting opposition can help us to stand firm in our faith in Christ.


Responses

  1. i have been in orissa, and the picture of tattooed women you have posted are actually not Tribals but ‘sudras’ you have been there but not have posted any long writing, because i think you have seen so many things over there, but its been very good for me to know about the situation of Bangladesh by your blog. thank you
    god bless you..

    • The tattooed women belong to the Kui people. The Kui are regarded as a tribal people. Sudra is a caste designation.


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