Thursday, April 20, 2006

What Would You Do?

"It was like any other Sunday morning...families walked into the church and went to worship and classes. During the midst of the sermon that morning, two armed gunmen stormed the church and grabbed people randomly and ushered them to the front of the church. The men yelled, both at the people they grabbed and at the spectators, "Today some of you will live and some of you will die! We are going to see how strong the church truly is and whether your faith is worth as much as you say it is!" Then they asked one question, "Is Jesus Christ worth enough to die for? If you deny Him, you will go free...if you claim Him, you will die today!" Then they went through the line of people taken, asking them this question with a gun to their head. Most denied Christ so that they could get back to the safety of their chair and be with their friends and families again. The last though spoke out to their spouse and told them they loved them and their family and then turned and began to recite the Apostles' Creed...barely into it, a gun shot was heard and the life drained from the body as it fell to the ground. For this person, they couldn't have faced their family and explained denying Christ and the only action which they had was to continue to claim Him at any cost...He had done exactly that for them!

Are you wondering right now if I got this from a book about Christian persecution? No, this was a very vivid dream which I had and have continued to have. I was the last person and when I woke up, this dream left me in very deep thought about what all the purposes were for it coming into my head. You see this very subject had come up at a conversation with someone in passing. They tried to justify to me why it would be better in the long run in this situation to deny Christ...He would understand the gravity of the situation! They went on to tell me that it would be a tramatic time which Christ wouldn't want my family to endure, that we could still prove our love for Christ without having to deny Him and that we live in a country free from that type of violence and persecution, so why worry ourselves with it, because it's not going to happen here. So along with this conversation, the introduction to short-term missions and the beginning of a prompting towards pursuing this all brought this dream into mind.

What were the purposes/reasons I found for why this dream happened? The most important one was that I needed to dig deep, truly know what my faith is and what I'm living for and to know what I would do in this situation, because even though I don't endure persecution to this extent right now, it doesn't mean that it'll never happen. Yes, granted that what you might do in thought and what you might do in a real life situation are two separate issues, I believe that if you know deep down what you believe and what you would do, then that's what will transpire in a situation. The next was that my husband needed to know for sure what I would do, so that he was never taken off-guard. We had a long talk about what we believed and why we would both not deny. For us, to deny would be a greater sacrifice...we would then have to explain to our children why Christ made the ultimate sacrifice and we need to live our life for Him, but in a case of persecution, it's okay to deny Him, even though He didn't deny us. To me, this would be pure hypocrisy and I wouldn't be able to face my family and friends and especially have any semblance of an explanation to Christ when the time came. It also showed me that you need to cherish and treasure each moment in this life and live it for everything it's worth. We don't know when our last day is going to be and should truly be living each day with purpose, working towards leaving a Godly legacy and example of what we want to be remembered as.

Another view which came out of the discussion with my friend that day was that my point-of-view was pretty 'fanatical' and rather unbelievable...what was I trying to be, a martyr! I found it interesting that day as the conversation turned to the fact that there aren't as many martyrs today and it's especially a symbol of 'fanaticism' if you talk about it in a first person sense in the Western world. I love the music from the Christian music group DcTalk and when their CD "Jesus Freak" came out, Mr. Cinder and I were right there to get it...the song "Jesus Freak" is a very powerful song; one which I found so much truth in because of where I've come from. They came out with a book and it's on my long list of books to read and/or purchase, but I haven't yet. I borrowed this book from a friend last night, Jesus Freaks, DcTalk and the Voice of the Martyrs...yes, this book, along with the fact that I recently have had this dream again have probably brought this post on...but the book gave a definition of a martyr and also some very powerful statistics dealing with this subject in the modern world. I'd never really thought about what a 'martyr' was and about what the statistics in today's world truly are. I'm going to type them out, as I don't think we really take enough time to actually know them...they are sobering and things we need to know, regardless of whether we are actively being persecuted.

mar-tyr [from the Greek word for "witness]

1) One who chooses to suffer death rather than to deny Jesus Christ or His work.

2) One who bears testimony to the truth of what he has seen or heard or knows, as in a witness in a court of justice.

3) One who sacrifices something very important to further the kingdom of God.

4) One who endures severe or constant suffering for their Christian witness.

5) A Jesus Freak.

"It is said that there are more Christian martyrs today than there were in 100 A.D. - in the days of the Roman Empire. According to a study done at Regent University, there were close to 156,000 Christians martyred around the world in 1998. An estimated 164,000 will be martyred in 1999."

What would you do if faced with the question, "Is Jesus Christ worth enough to die for?" Have you ever given it any thought...if not, shouldn't you?

Hebrews 13:3 (CEV)
Remember the Lord's people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don't forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.


Kc said...

This is a very thought provoking post.

I know it's hard to know just how I might react but if my only option was death I would agree, better to suffer death than to deny the Lord. I am one from the just-war camp though so to be honest I think I would have died fighting for my brethren before I could be asked to deny.

I think most of us in the states can't imagine the persecution that still exist for believers outside of the government sponsored churches in other countries. We might be more grateful for our own civil liberty if we did.

audrey` said...

May our Heavenly Father answer all your heart's desires according to His will.
God bless you, Cinder :)

Jayleigh said...

Every time I come here, your writing blesses me beyond belief. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for choosing to be a martyr if the situation ever came to be.

**prayers for you**