God has seen fit to allow us to live at this time in a threatening climate. Whether this is because we need to be humbled or because of the evil machinations of our spiritual enemy, it is nevertheless where we find ourselves at this time.
Many of us who are on the other side of the counter culture are feeling more and more marginalized. It seems as if anchors of belief and morality are being severed from our traditional foundation of a Christian and Constitutional. It makes us question where we are going and where we Christians will end up when we get there.
In short, Bible-believing Christians are on edge these days.
Americans in general have typically found themselves in peace and safety throughout our country. There may have been some places where this was not the case, but in more urban and rural areas across the U.S., everything has been fairly copacetic. Going down to the grocery store was a non-event. Showing your love of our country was wide-spread. Speaking your mind in the office break room was what everyone did.
No more. Life has changed.
In some cities, going to the grocery store could cause a confrontation with protesters who surround your car, as in this woman in Raleigh and this driver in Portland. Now, trying to be patriotic during the 4th of July can cause you to be lambasted by others who tell us that “America was never great”. And speaking your mind about certain issues at work (such as support for BLM) can get you fired.
Most of us Americans don’t like that. We don’t like this feeling of insecurity and vulnerability. It’s new and strange. And we want it to go away. We want this unwanted barbeque – and all of the people who have showed up in our back yard – to go away.
In other parts of the world, instability and danger is a part of daily life. Outside the capital area of Venezuela, many people are starving. In northern Nigeria, villagers are often raided by members of Boko Haram, whose members steal, rape, and kill. In Hong Kong, people who felt assured of their personal freedoms years ago are now looking over their shoulder wondering if Chinese agents will pick them up and throw them into prison.
Americans are now just beginning to feel this danger. It has been brought home to us thanks to the efforts of Antifa, BLM, and socialist activists. It’s a barbeque started in our back yard without our participation.
We Americans have a big problem here, to say the least. But I’m now going to put forward my Christian perspective.
Most Bible-believing Christians are fairly patriotic. We support our country, in spite of its flaws, and we want to help repair wrongs and move forward, so we endure the pains of non-Christian patriotic Americans. However, Christians have to face more opposition. We have always faced slight ostracism and mild repudiation by those who don’t share our faith.
Now, however, it seems to be much worse. We are facing a Cancel Culture who is shocked, shocked, that we actually believe the Bible, call our beliefs “hateful”, and are trying to group us with white supremacists. They want us gone.
Fortunately, Christians have faced this before. One only needs to read the New Testament to realize that Christians have been opposed by the prevailing climate of our world from day one. The earliest Christians were persecuted and driven out of Jerusalem. Christians who attempted to visit other cities and countries to bring them the Gospel were beaten and sometimes killed. Roman authorities called us “unpatriotic” because we would not burn a simple incense to the approved pagan deity.
It has been similar through many centuries until the present day. Our current religious freedom in America, guaranteed by our Constitution (but threatened today), is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even when religious freedom was adopted by our country, it was done so unevenly and with a number of failures. American Christians should realize how fortunate that we have had such safety for so long.
And it should also be pointed out that Christians in many other countries are persecuted on a daily basis. Majority Muslim countries, militant Hindus, totalitarian regimes, and Communist/socialist authorities all wage war against Christians in varying intensities today.
But our Bible tells us how to act in such a climate. Persecuted Christians around the world have always depended on Scripture to help them get through tough situations. Now, American Christians will need to do so as well.
The Bible tells us
All believers will be persecuted. It’s not strange. (2 Timothy 3:12)
We will be blessed when we are persecuted. (Matthew 5:10)
We must not try to seek revenge. Instead, we should love our enemies and pray for them. (Matthew 5:44)
We will enjoy God’s love even in the midst of our persecution (Romans 8:35-37)
God will give us strength (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Some of us will be rescued, but others will not. (Psalm 91:1-16)
Even in the midst of suffering, God will be with us (Psalm 23:1-6)
These, and many Scriptures like them, are throughout the Bible, just for us, but it will take a courage that many American Christians have not had to exhibit.
For most of us, we have rarely felt ourselves actually threatened because of our beliefs. We might be harassed briefly in a discussion with a friend or relative. We might not be invited to work or neighborhood get-togethers, but that was a mild thing compared to the possibility of losing our livelihoods and our lives.
In Band Of Brothers, there is an episode in which a green soldier is facing the enemy for the first time and is overcome with fear. A more experienced soldier tells him that the only anyone can face it is to believe that you are already dead. If you reckon yourself dead, you can expose yourself to the enemy. You can do your job in a dangerous situation. After all, you’re already dead. If you find later that you are still alive, it’s a bonus.
We American Christians need to start realizing that we are already dead. If we try to hold onto our life, we will (spiritually) lose it, but if we lose our life for God, we will save it. (Mark 8:35)
And so it is. We will never be able to follow Christ in the hostile barbecue climate that we find ourselves in if we are trying to preserve our life. Instead, we need to see that our life is already given to Jesus, and he can do with it what He will.
So when someone fires up that grill in your back yard again, and you don’t even know why the heck he’s out there, you don’t have to fear. God’s with you, my brothers and sisters.