Why Should the Free Care?

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Did you realize that over 75% of the world’s population is living with high restrictions on their practice of religion? Persecution is not a fringe issue and it is not relegated to those suffering for Christ in a prison far away. Persecution is a daily reality for billions and it is a defining feature of our Christian faith. Explore four lenses on persecution that will open your eyes.

 

Devotional

Valuing the Least

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Translations

       

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Engage Through Prayer

Dear God, you call on us to remember those suffering from persecution with deep empathy. Help us to see beyond our own situation to the suffering and pain of others. We ask that you would rescue those we know who are being persecuted and be with those we do not know as they face danger and oppression. Help us to seek you even when we are being personally oppressed and give us the faith to trust you completely no matter what we are called to endure. Amen

 

Personal Reflection

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Why should the free care?” Maybe you asked that as a person who lives with significant freedom. Or you might have asked that question as someone facing oppression and wondering if anyone cares. We know that persecution will be a reality until Jesus returns, but our hearts ache as we suffer or as others around the world struggle against evil forces. Use this Missiographic to understand persecution, and then ask God what He would have you do based on where you sit today. How can you pray more intelligently? What cause could you get involved in to advocate for those who are suffering? What is God teaching you through your own experience with persecution?

 

Engaging the Church 

Most of us attend a church that has focused on the persecuted Church for a Sunday morning or at a prayer meeting. Whether our church is in a country that experiences persecution or whether it is seen as a problem for those only far away, it is a common theme in our churches. But how are we engaging with persecution in its various forms. What is your church doing to speak about the social hostility that so many people face as they strive to practice their faith? Does your church remember persecution of the past? Are you sharing a message of hope that places of persecution can become places of vibrant church growth? The bleak picture is compelling and draws attention, but are you recognizing the bigger picture of how God can use persecution to accomplish His overall plan? Consider how your church engages on this issue and use this Missiographic to be a broader discussion within your community of faith.

 

Organizational Application 

With over 75% of of the world experiencing high levels of restriction on religion, it is likely that your organization serves people dealing with religious persecution. How are your programs taking this reality into account? Whether it is legal or social persecution, are you equipping the Body of Christ to respond to persecution in a God-honoring way? As you travel globally, how are you helping your staff and partners process persecution and respond appropriately? Use this Missiographic as a discussion piece to look more broadly at the topic of persecution past and present and develop a Christ-centered response.


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Sources

1

http://www.pewforum.org/2015/02/26/restrictions-and-hostilities-in-the-most-populous-countries-2013/

2

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/wwl-downloads/

3

Corruption Perceptions Index, http://www.transparency.org/cpi2015

4

Global Peace Index (bottom 10 not “top ten”),

http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#/page/indexes/global-peace-index/2015

5

From The Future of the Global Church Digital Collection, www.TheFutureOfTheGlobalChurch.org".
In FGC, these are listed as “martyrs” in the sense that a government policy or conflict eliminated their freedom and brought death, often to a whole community. Most were members of ancient Christian churches—Catholic or Orthodox.

6 Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is the most widely trusted data source on Syrian casualties. www.syriahr.com/en

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