As a Western Christian, why should you listen to the stories of persecuted Christians from around the world? 1. Because they are your brothers and sisters whom we are called to love. One of the most significant ways that we can attribute value to someone is by listening to their story. This is also why listening is more important than talking when we do evangelism. Listening communicates love. Listening says to our persecuted brothers and sisters that what they have experienced is important and valuable. 2. Because their stories inspire our own faith. We need the stories of the persecuted Church more than they need our stories of wealth and comfort. The faithfulness of believers in the face of great suffering and oppression demonstrates the reality of the risen Christ. Many Christians have endured incredible suffering ONLY by the grace and power of Christ. Their stories testify to this. Much of this witness is lost in the comfortable Christian culture of the West but we can gain it by listening to the stories of our brothers and sisters whose experiences have been otherwise. 3. Because they are amazing and unique stories. How many people do you know who have been thrown over a wall by an invisible hand or who have seen someone raised from the dead after being dead for days? How many times have you heard about someone forgiving a man who beheaded his brother or praying for the well-being of his torturer? These stories and more are unique to the persecuted Church. 4. Because we love Jesus and because Jesus loves His Church. “Whatever you have done unto the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40-45). Jesus asked the Apostle Peter, "Do you love me?" Peter replied, "Yes, Lord, You know that I love You." Then Jesus commanded him, "Feed my sheep." (John 21:17). If we love Jesus, we will love His Church and care for her.
5. Because we are the persecuted Church. Even though we often use the language of “us” and “them”, the truth is, there is only “us”. The Apostle Paul said that “all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12). That is not a possibility but a guarantee. There are certainly different degrees of persecution experienced by different Christians, but ALL Christians will experience persecution, oppression, and difficulties if we are truly following Christ. This is because we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12). It is not really people but the accuser, the Satan, who persecutes the Church and he persecutes us all. Every temptation, every accusation, every discouragement is an attack from our oppressor. That is why we need to listen to those who have gone before us and who have passed victoriously through many trials. We will be equipped to follow their example when we listen to their stories.
Now it is time for you to add to the list. Listen to this podcast and hear stories from the persecuted Church and then share with us how they minister to you!