The response to my International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church and Veterans Day Weekend message is serving to further the conversation regarding the plight of two categories of very, very important people: Veterans of Foreign War and Persecuted Christians.
The Bible is clear…there is a time for war. God has entrusted the governing function of His world to national governments. Each national government is assigned, by God, the responsibility of keeping every one of their citizens safe and secure. At times, God expects governments to lead their people to victory in war. We have many Bible war heroes. Moses, Joshua, and King David come to mind.
The Bible is also clear….religious persecution is a time to turn the other cheek, love your enemies, and pray for those who spitefully use you. For whatever reasons, some presumed that this understanding is the same for crime. In my understanding, the Bible presents being a victim of crime very differently from experiencing religious persecution. Protecting one’s family from crime is, in Scripture, unique from dealing with persecution “for my name’s sake.” To my knowledge, the Bible no where says, “Blessed are you when people commit crimes against you.” However, our Scriptures do say, “Blessed are you when people persecute you for my name’s sake.” Just as we have Biblical war heroes, we have Biblical heroes who endured great persecution: Peter, James, and Paul come to mind.
The Veteran should hold her or his head high in being a faithful warrior, while the persecuted Christian holds their head equally high for turning the other cheek even at the cost of their lives. Both the Veteran and the Persecuted Christian “did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11). The warrior killed for the cause. The persecuted Christian was killed for the cause. Both are heroic.
Thank you for continuing the conversation. Our Veterans and Persecuted sisters and brothers deserve the conversation to continue.