In columnist Alana Marie Burke’s newspaper article today on the Ground Zero mosque debate she says that those who oppose the mosque as an affront “are labeled Islamophobes, ignorant, bigots, racists, haters and Christians. Lately, Christian has been the insult of choice by anti-conservatives”.
That made me think of things I’ve read about the lives of Christians in the early church. It’s been said that “Christian” was originally a label of derision and eventually a criminal charge.
We’ve all heard about the horrendous treatment of the first martyrs, I’m sure, and about how they were used as human torches to illuminate the emperor’s nighttime revels. While I can’t imagine cultural shifts that could lead to anything as extreme as that, I have to wonder just where things are heading in the near future.
As Christians we are told to rejoice and be glad when we are persecuted.
I don’t suppose any Christian in the Western world has ever suffered real persecution. I certainly haven’t. There have been times I’ve felt annoyed at the way we are portrayed in the media as either wild-eyed fundamentalists or low-IQ buffoons. But annoyance isn’t persecution.
It’s hard to imagine finding joy in mistreatment, but that is our mission when the time comes.
While I don’t advocate becoming an alarmist, and I trust God to see us through whatever lies ahead, I do think it behooves us all to gird ourselves with the fruits of the spirit in order to be prepared when the time comes…it could be soon.
Rejoice and be glad…there’s good times a-comin’