I was listening to a sermon by Jeffrey Rosario, one of my favorite preachers. He was speaking on why a person would die for their beliefs. He spoke about the men who were tortured and burned to death during the Dark Ages. To save themselves, all they had to do was say they were wrong about what they believed and say the Mother Church was right.
Why did they think the different beliefs they held were worth dying for? Jeffrey said a beautiful thing. He said they weren’t dying for a belief; they were dying for a person. Their beliefs weren’t a thing, they were a person. I love that.
Some things Christians disagree about are not very important. But when it comes to who God is, that is important. God is the only God, he is worthy of our praise and worship.
The early Christians were told to worship the Emperor of Rome or die. Some chose to die. In the Dark Ages, Christians were told to accept the Roman Christian Church, and if they didn’t they would die. Some chose to die. They could not say they agreed with what the church was teaching about God.
When I was in university, a guest professor came into our class. Someone asked him why Christians would die for their faith. He said he thought they were like suicide bombers and no one could understand them.
“They were nothing like that!” I said.
He asked me what they were like then. I said, “If a German during WWII didn’t want to become a Nazi, wasn’t that worth dying for?
He said there were some Germans who did that. Then he looked at my professor in exasperation and she said the discussion was over. I wish I had thought of something better to say than what I did, but it all happened so quickly.
Many Christians have been killed by ISIS because they would not renounce their belief in Jesus. They are being killed in the Sudan and many other countries. One day, persecution will come to the West. One day there will be religious people who will want to arrest and kill those who disagree with their concept of who God is.
But we need not be concerned; if we stick close to God through faith and prayer, he will give us the strength at the right time to stand with him. Jesus told us we didn’t even have to worry about what to say but that the Holy Spirit would give us the words.