Tuesday

You hurt my hand when I slapped you

"...Though many expected him to overthrow the government and become the rightful King, Jesus instructed His followers that they should not concern themselves with "this world." He told them His kingdom was in "another place." Instead of taking the seat they thought belonged to Him, He did the opposite. He let Pilate turn him over to the religious rulers of the day who ultimately executed him.

It's understandable why the Jews who followed Jesus wanted him to takeover the Roman government. They'd been persecuted, enslaved, exiled and killed because of their religion and culture. From Pharaoh's killing of the first borns to the mistreatment by the Roman government of Jesus day, all that His followers had known was hatred and intolerance. Yet still, Jesus reminded these early Christian converts that the government wasn't His or their concern. What He told them to focus on instead was loving the Lord, and their neighbors. To focus on the eternal, not the fleeting life they were living.

More than 2,000 years later, some Christians seem to have completely forgotten this essential teaching of Jesus. Even worse, they seem to have forgotten what it really means to be persecuted.

Beatings, stonings, imprisonment, these were some of the "lighter" things early Christians faced because they refused to deny their faith. Death by wild animal attack, while listening to cheers in a packed coliseum, was one of the worst. In some places in the world today -- like Iran,Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, North Korea or Saudia Arabia -- Christians can still be imprisoned or killed because of their beliefs.

What is important to note is what these Christians were, or are, being persecuted for -- their faith and belief in Jesus Christ, and Christ alone.

Understanding that, it is reprehensible how many American Christians have recently claimed that they too are being "persecuted." Not for proclaiming a faith in Jesus Christ, but for supporting causes and issues that Jesus never said a word on. Specifically, some Christians are claiming that their religious freedom is being infringed, and they're facing persecution, because they aren't able to vocally support oppression toward homosexuals without facing opposition.

Not opposition from the government -- no one is threatening to remove the tax exemption of every church who urges it's congregation to vote against gay marriage -- but opposition from "the world." The same world that Jesus said Christians were not be focused on, since they were not a part of it.
That shows just how much is wrong with Christianity today.
 
Christians have gone from a group of believers willing to die for a man that preached loving your enemies, to people who are known more for who they are against, than who they love. Yet if anyone points that out, instead of humbly asking forgiveness, they cross their arms across their chests, plug their fingers in their ears and claim persecution.

...We've transformed from a group of radical lovers, to a bunch of whiners who bully around other people, then claim they were the ones who started it first."


- Emily Timbol, blogger and author.

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