Saturday, August 21, 2010


I've recently started to sense that might be calling me to travel to encourage the Church in persecuted nations. Of course, first I have to apply for a passport and then wait for God to open a door, but someone handed me an envelope with enough cash to pay for my passport a few weeks ago, so I think I'm getting the hint.

As I was sharing this with our house church family recently, one brother asked me what I could possibly say to followers of Jesus who are already standing for their faith in the face of violence and death. I had to admit that I would probably only find out what God wanted me to share with them after the door had been opened. The best I could hope for would be to engage in a mutual exchange of encouragement with my brothers and sisters undergoing persecution.

But as I continued to think about this and pray about it, I realized that there was something I could encourage the persecuted church to do after all; “Love your enemies”.

A few days after this thought entered my mind, the floods in Pakistan become front page news. Thousands dead, millions homeless, complete devastation of entire villages. This was an opportunity for those who had been threatened to demonstrate compassion to the very people who hated them.

I know that Pakistan is one of the top nations in the world for Christian persecution. Can it be any coincidence that this tragedy has befallen these people? Not as a judgment of God against the persecuting ones, but as an opportunity for the persecuted to demonstrate the love of Jesus in tangible ways.

Certainly, our nation and many other governments and first-response non-profit groups will mobilize to show compassion from the outside. But this is the perfect opportunity for the Body of Christ in Pakistan to boldly stand up and love their neighbor as themselves.

May God give them grace enough to love those who have shown them such hate and may it turn many souls to the love of Christ.


1 comment:

SAG45 said...

Read your blog on "loving one's enemies". There is so much swirling around my head right now about my own place in the family of Jesus Christ; too much personal hatred of the world around me; beginning to lose my faith that He even cares about any of this any more. Then I saw some YouTube clips of "the reverend" Fred Phelps whose philosophy of hate allowed me to see just what my own hatred looks like when taken to a higher order... in fact, I thought I caught a glimpse of what hell might look like with everyone hating everyone else, including our own self loathing and hatred leading us to devour our own flesh... and I was broken.

Jesus never asks us to just take the middle ground, to do your best and hope it's good enough; He commands us to do the impossible... "Love your enemies". Now I understand something I could never grasp before yesterday... to be like Jesus means taking the road less traveled, the road of pain, the road of weakness; the road upon which we are asked to walk is one which declares to the world that we would rather suffer a blow from our enemies rather than to inflict a blow for any reason. Take a blow, but refuse to hate, nay, even to dare to love. That's what dying to oneself and living for Christ really means; for me, this is just a philosophy... but for you it is Jesus working through you preparing for His Kingdom yet to come.

You are growing, Keith... in the knowledge of Jesus Christ; knowing that He leads you into places which may cause you physical harm but also knowing that love must have its way. May He bless your journey and continue to enrich your faith.