Honoring Persecuted Christians
By John Livingston Clark
Imagine a woman giving birth while in prison and shackled in chains. That is what Meriam Ibrahim did. In May of 2014 she was put in prison for converting from Islam to Christianity. A court in the country of Sudan considered her “guilty” of apostasy and adultery because she refused to denounce her faith, and she was married to a Christian. Meriam, who is married to a naturalized American citizen, was ordered to death for her so-called apostasy and whipped for her supposed adultery. At the time she was eight months pregnant and confined to a Sundanese women’s prison. Shortly after that she gave birth.
On June 23, Meriam was released but she and her husband had to stay at the United States Embassy until July 24, when they were allowed to leave the country. After going to Rome to meet with Pope Francis they came to the United States.
Meriam, along with her husband and new baby, will appear at the Values Voter Summit, sponsored by the Family Research Council, on September 27, in Washington D.C. Tony Perkins said the organization is going to honor her because “she honored God by standing strong in her faith even through imprisonment and a death sentence.”
The imprisonment of Merriam Ibrahim should be a reminder of the millions of Christians around the world who are being persecuted, tortured, and killed, in China, North Korea, and Middle East nations. Let’s not forget pastor Saeed who has been in jail for over two years in Iran, just because the government did not like him starting home churches. In China crosses are being taken down and churches are being destroyed.
May the honoring of Meriam on September 27 represent all those who are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Hopefully, may it also serve as a reminder for all of us living in western nations, particularly the United States, of how easy and comfortable we have it here. Even though not all persecuted Christians are being honored as is Meriam, God holds them in high regard. The Bible says in James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who fear Him.” Then in Matthew 5:10-12 we read, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The past, present, and future persecuted Christians are going to reap eternal rewards. Will you and I be among them? II Timothy 3:12 gives a sobering reminder that “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” This is not to say that we want to suffer persecution, but are we living godly lives?