For the past few days, most of the posts that have been coming across my facebook feed have been about what our response, as Americans, should be towards Syrian refugees. After the attacks in Paris, my conservative republican reaction was to keep them out. Why do we want to even take the chance of bringing a terrorist into the country? I've read many posts from people that have been proud that their states have signed executive orders blocking Syrian refugees. Heck, I did the same thing just last night. When I woke up this morning, I read a blog that reminded me of something that I have been telling others for well over a year now, "We should be living as Christian Americans, not American Christians." The big difference? The former teaches to put others before ourselves, and the latter teaches us that making ourselves happy is the ultimate goal. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that to be a Christian, we must live a life without joy. It's more about where our joy comes from. As you know, there are many other parallels that can be drawn here, but that's not the reason for this post.
What we have enjoyed in this country, has also made many of us soft in our Christianity. We have taken freedom of religion, and have turned it into freedom "from" religion. We pick verses out of the bible to live by that are convenient to the American life that we've built for ourselves, but conveniently skip over the verses that might require something that would infringe on that same cushy life. You see, as Americans, most of us can't relate to the situation the authors of the New Testament were going through. Stoning...doesn't happen in America. Crucifixion...doesn't happen in America. Flogging...doesn't happen in America. We have these amazing freedoms from persecution, but what that has meant for many of us, is that we've forgotten how it all started. The 1st century church faced persecution on a daily basis. The threat of death was very real for them, and yet, they boldly took a stand to spread the gospel because they knew that an earthly death was of very little meaning, but eternal life meant everything.
Peter had a lot to say about persecution...
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." -1 Pet. 4:12-14