“You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name.” This is not a pleasant prophecy. On the contrary, Jesus’ somber words may strike us with a bit of fear and make us wonder if we will ever actually face such a tragic scenario. We are fortunate to live in a country where religious freedom is tolerated, and of course we hope that this continues to be the case. But the sad fact is that right now, there are Christians in other parts of the world who are living out the reality of these prophetic words. For these men, women, and children of faith, the name of Jesus truly is a cause of persecution and martyrdom.
Let us imagine for a moment that the tables were turned. Suppose we were the ones suffering from the violent advances of anti-Christian forces. Suppose we were the ones losing our homes, fleeing for our lives, tending to our wounded loved ones, or worse. Where would we look for help? To other Christians, most likely, to those who would sympathize with our commitments but who still had the resources to assist us.
We are those other Christians. We are the ones who share a common faith with these suffering brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe. We are the ones with the resources to help them, even if it is just in a small way. Our prayers for their protection and peace cannot be underestimated, but neither can we dismiss the significance of contributing in any way possible to those organizations that are working on the front lines to assist the suffering Church throughout the world. May we all do what we can to bring relief to those who need it most.