Persecuted but not cast down
Dr. John K. Mathew
Jesus never said his work was safe. Whether it is risking our reputation,or risking our life,serving the gospel requires courage.
However, jeopardizing the liberties of others has become a norm in our society today. Some people in our community find pleasure in assaulting others. Obviously, it raises questions about the integrity of our government and the value Indians give to freedom, democracy and secularism. Also it poses serious questions about our five thousand year old culture and civilization.
I am writing this in view of the brutal attack done on Christians in Attingal, Kerala.
It attracted the attention of the public because of the bi-election in a nearby town. There are so many such incidents happening every day in different parts of the country. Unfortunately no one pays any attention. But one thing is true that Christianity has the power to face this and Christians are fully aware about it. Apostle Peter writes, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ,
so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed... How ever, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name" (1Pet.4:12-16) Here arises the question, what is a Christian?
An answer is easily found in a letter an anonymous writer wrote to a friend, which dates back to the first century. The writer describes a strange people who are in the world but not of the world: Christians are not differentiated from other people by country, language, or customs; you see, they do not live in cities of their own, or speak some strange dialect...They live in both Greek and foreign cities, wherever chance has put them. They follow local customs in clothing, food, and other aspects of life. But at the same time, they demonstrate to us the unusual form of their citizenship.
They live in their own native lands, but as aliens... every foreign country is to them as their native country, and every native land as a foreign country.
They marry and have children just like everyone else, but they do not kill unwanted children. They offer a shared table, but not a shared bed. They are passing their days on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the appointed laws and go beyond the laws in their own lives.
They love everyone, but are persecuted by all. They are put to death and gain life. They are poor and yet make many rich. They are dishonored and yet gain glory through dishonor.
Their names are blackened, and yet they are cleared. They are mocked and bless in return. They are treated outrageously and behave respectfully to others.
When they do good, they are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if being given new life. They are attacked by Jews as aliens and are persecuted by Greeks; yet those who persecute them cannot give any reason for their hostility. It is true everywhere and we need to rejoice in as much as we participate in the sufferings of Christ.