"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Suffering for Jesus

I read this excerpt today and it made me think.  It was said in the context of Chinese Christians denouncing their faith in Jesus when being persecuted by their government.  There were many who did not, of course, but this was just a small part of what was said.

Your not becoming a traitor and your resistance in times of intensive trial depends upon your earlier Christian life.

When, after the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the Lord appeared to Ananias, He told him how to teach a new convert: "I will show him how many things he must suffer for my Name's sake" (Acts 9:16).

Every Christian church that does not teach its members the main religious science, sufferology, does not fulfill its duties.  Impose upon yourself mortification. Learn to suffer and not to yield. The time may come when you will need this knowledge. -- Richard Wurmbrand as quoted in The Voice of the Martyrs, pg. 10 - June 2011

Why do you believe it matters that we endure a trial and resist denouncing our faith even under intense pressure?  Is that crazy? Would something like taqiyya be more sensible in getting through this world?  I remember in a book I read last year that Maimonides thought it foolish of his people to go through suffering when they could easily "convert" in name only in order to be left alone. 


observant observer said...

Lots of line in the scripture said that genuine faith is just like real gold, it should stand the "heat", the hardness of molding process etc so we know that we have real gold in our heart.

I always think that what God teach is to have a very beautiful mind and soul internally that are expressed in glowing actions externally, to be perfect or at least aim for perfection to be like Him in love and to be inclusive for all. The teachings are indeed all connected, that we should have faith in Him to resist fear, and let Him shine and proof that faith won't be useless.

I know it's easy said than done, but at least we can view that all suffering of humanity can be offered as an attempt in taking part in the Lord's suffering as well. May we all have the courage and faith for as long as we live!

Lat said...

I think taqiya is somewhat a common practice among people.To me it does border on hypocrisy.But when fears maybe not just for his life but also for his family,friends etc then taqiya is one solution.If one feels that to stand for truth is an absolute necessity that warrants such an act,then one must go for it.

Susanne said...

Observant, good to see you! Thanks for reminding us that true faith is tested and tried in the heat of fire and only what is pure stands! Good reminder and analogy. I am reminded that anything true is worth standing up for. You don't have to nor should you compromise truth. I rather like that God wants us to stand firm. It's not easy at all. In fact I am always scared I'd be one of those who lies for the sake of saving myself. I guess this is why I so strongly admire those who suffer persecution for their faith and stand strong until the end if necessary. Those people are my heroes. And they challenge me to remember that there are things in life worth dying for!

I appreciate your comment!

Lat, yes, I think taqiya would be more of a solution if you were fearful of family and friends being hurt. Ugh! That adds a really really really hard twist to standing up for truth! Good point!

Thanks for your feedback!

Suroor said...

During the Spanish Inquisition those who didn't convert to Christianity were not just tortured, they were killed so after a while many Jews and Muslims pretended to convert to Christianity. A lesson the Ottomans learned from this was that they took young Christian boys from their parents and converted them to Islam and trained them to become leaders. What Spanish torture couldn't do, Turkish generosity achieved easily. I think taqqiya works in fright but when you bribe and gift many will give up even on their religion.

observant observer said...

Early Christian were proofs of faith being tested, they were tortured, being fed to lions, hang, maimed and everything that you could think of the mode of destructions and terrors. They only became the witness of what Jesus have said that indeed they will be chased and killed for what they believed. But in the end, faith prevailed.

Actually, what I want to say is that when we have faith, we gotta show what truth is, what being true is. When you give up at the tip of a sword, then you're giving up on your rights to be free from oppression and let the enemy proclaim the false truth to be taken as real truth. That in the end will not give lessons to anyone, not to the persecuted nor to the oppressor.

Every actions actually give tremendous impact not only to ourselves and those around us at the moment, but to the society in the future. If those Chinese were afraid and finally denounce the faith, I don't think anyone will blame them, they have all the rights reason to hang on to their life. But in the end, nobody learns from that. The oppresor will maintain the hegemony, the persecuted will still not be free from fear. I guess, you can choose to have your life becomes agent of change or something else.

Muslims in Indonesia who would change religion will still be fearful of threat. Nobody dares to say anything against it. I suppose, there should be an international call to address this matter regarding coversion from Islam to some other religion, but the converts themselves should actually learn to be brave themselves. Otherwise, Muslims will think that there's no such case at all as what they always believe, that no one could ever want to change religion. If anyone does,they will accuse that it must come from misunderstanding or shallow understanding of Islam.

Susanne said...

Suroor, interesting, but forgive me if I don't think taking young boys and converting them is "Turkish generosity." :) It may be better than killing someone, but hardly generous, IMO.

Forcing anyone to convert is wrong and obviously Christianity once again shows it is not Jesus-like.

Susanne said...

OO, thanks for your follow-up comment. I enjoyed your perspective - thank you!