To be a Christian, especially at this moment in history, is an active rebellion against what the world stands for. You’re pretty much some crazy punk with radical ideas standing on a soapbox except minus the blue hair and studded black boots. Every which way you turn, the popular topics of the age (abortion, homosexuality, gender identity, etc.) are uplifted and those who dare to speak out against it are silenced and told to kindly get with the times and stop holding on to their outdated Bibles and leave behind the old-fashioned notions of centuries past. Teachers are forbidden to discuss the idea of a sentient creator or even point out the mistakes and fallacies present in evolution. When children mention God or a Savior there are blaming fingers aimed at the parents for brainwashing.
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” – Psalm 2:1-3
In short, being a Christian is viewed as a curse.
The oppression of believers ranges anywhere from being attacked and murdered for your faith to nasty looks from people you call friends. Both hurt, just on different levels.
But it’s certainly not anything new.
“Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” – 1 John 3:13
Can’t say it much plainer than that. John was dipped in a vat of boiling oil because of the faith he had in Jesus, so I’m sure he was no stranger to the hatred against Christians.
Stephen was stoned to death. James was executed by the sword. Peter was crucified upside down. Polycarp was burned at the stake. Hundreds of Christians were brutually killed in the Coliseum for entertainment. Jesus himself was spit on both figuratively and literally by his peers and family before he was crucified. And this doesn’t even begin to enroach on the sobering number of those who have died only recently for their faith. The list goes on and on.
Rebels, every single one of them. Who, instead of denying Christ to save their lives, firmly held fast to their faith and crushed Satan’s head underneath their shoe.
As of right now, the United States enjoys a constantly teetering balance of religious freedom, but who knows if it will stay that way or if we soon will face similar challenges to our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and other seriously persecuting areas. Already there is an atmosphere of “Oh my goodness, will these Christians just please be quiet?”
It can be tempting to give up when it comes to sharing your faith or even just acknowledging its existence, especially when the ridicule comes from those we trust and love. The devil is right there, per usual, telling you that giving in is the best possible option, that you are alone, that the pressure upon you is right and you are wrong, that God has left you to deal with the criticism and disgusted looks all by yourself.
And you know what we say to that?
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4
There is no better reward than the one waiting for you in Heaven, so do not set up a tent of popularity on this earth when your true home is yet to come.