Persecution: Where Is It?

September 21, 2006 — 17 Comments


Last night was scary – I mean, I was really, really scared. I was with some of my youth group, and we were out at a football field, all wearing cool matching shirts that said “Servant Life” on them doing what we have all been called to do – share the gospel. We decided to do what we had done the week before – walk around a pass out tracts, play with the kids, and pass out hot chocolate and water bottles. And I was there passing the tracts out to a group of kids who seemed to be standing in a group on the track around the football field – and I began to ask them questions. But as I was nearing the end, about to give them the good news, two moms walked up – and suddenly I felt scared. Before, I had felt right at home sharing with the kids, but when the moms walked up, I felt something come over me. I guess you could call it fear. Before I knew it, they had the kids back to practicing whatever they had been practicing (cheer leading or something like that). It was amazing how fast things turned around. I can hardly explain the feeling – a feeling of shame, perhaps, of what I was saying.

The encounter last night got me thinking today, especially when I ran across an article from the Persecution Blog asking why is there no persecution in the United States. And the article hit me hard.

With all this anti-Christian sentiment, why isn’t the United States rife with persecution similar to what is seen coming out of Asia and Africa? One of the reasons is that our constitution is rooted in the Bible, but another key reason is greatly overlooked. Christians in the U.S. seem to be more intimidated by a politically correct socialist agenda than believers abroad are fearful of persecution under the flags of Islam, communism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. There are few places in this country where you can find Christians talking about their faith outside of church. Because most workplaces, schools, and government-run institutions discourage or disallow proselytizing, this is good enough for most Bible-believing Americans to leave their faith at their front doors. Putting our jobs, tolerant reputations, and unblemished records on the line are apparently prices that most of us consider too high to pay for sharing our faith (emphasis mine).

I quickly realized that when those ladies walked up, I was scared. And why should I be? Why should I have a fear? What were they going to do to me? Then I realized that I was doing just as the Persecution Blog had said – I and others are hiding. We’re hiding behind blogs, behind church pews, behind offices, behind our doorsteps. We are afraid of sharing the gospel with everyone we meet. We’re afraid of being called “annoying” Christians. Jesus-Freaks, weirdos, or the worst of them all: a proselytizer. No one wants to jeopardize what they have. Be honest. You do not want to lose what you have here in America. You don’t want to lose your reputation as the “nice guy.” You don’t want to lose your dignity. You don’t want to lose your pride.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Oh, I fear the day that American Evangelicalism stands before the throne of God. Are you ready?

*Note: For those who read this post before seeing this note, there was an original error that I didn’t catch. An entire paragraph was missing from the beginning, giving the impression that I was asking the little girls about why there was no persecution in the United States, when in fact I was asking them how they did when they took the “good person” test. I apologize for the mistake.

Tim Sweetman

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Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

17 responses to Persecution: Where Is It?

  1. A very thorough and true report! I commend your boldness in sharing such hard truth in light of America’s (indeed North America’s) inexperience concerning persecution (particularly of the first century Church era flavor). I encountered your info amidst the WORLD mag article, and I will express utmost appreciation for your outreach. I fully support your purpose toward promoting the Biblical worldview on politics, social/cultural issues, etc.
    You may find my own weblog of some interest, for it focuses on the Biblical worldview in light of apologetics: veritasunum.blogspot.com blatantly defends the Holy Writ and Truth of Almighty God.

  2. “hiding behind blogs…” ouch. It’s true; coming face to face with unbelievers has been replaced a lot by blogs. Am I ready? No! Does it matter? When it comes to stepping out in faith, the chances are I’ll never be ready, but still able to do anything with Christ’s help.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. Good post. This reminded me of some thoughts I had earlier this week after reading “Voice of the Martyrs” article about how the Muslims (for the most part) obey their religion to the extent of death. When you think about it, in some ways we could learn something from them… Their religion may be an awful one but they take their faith seriously. If you think about them watching the US say they are Christian and then be hypocrites and leaving their faith “on the doorstep” no wonder they think we are nuts. We as Christians don’t need to be radical but we need to be more outgoing. I know that my issue in been more out going has been somewhat of a pride issue, it is the whole “what are they going to think about me?!”. And that is not something you can over-come easily or quickly, only with lots of prayer. Just my thoughts…

  4. Great post Tim, I was refelcting on that the other day. I saw a statistic that only 2% of Christians in US share there faith on a regular basis. Thats an extreme case of shirking your duty.(Myself included) Like Abby I often think,”What are they going to think of me.” But that shouldn’t be our focus. We shouldn’t care about what they think of us. That doesn’t matter.

  5. Ouch! That was really convicting. My fear of man wins out over my fear of God and it’s wrong. It’s really easy to just post godly things on my blog and join a Christian forum and think that it’s all pleasing. That does please God but he didn’t call us to start christian blogs. He’s called us to proclaim the gospel.

    Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Mat 5:13)

    I think this verse sums it up nicely. Thanks for the great post, Tim.

  6. If only we feared God more than we feared man!!

  7. hey tim!

    wow that was a really good post. It takes alot of courage to approach un-believers and submit your self to judment that they might be think about you…

    I’m not sure if I’ll be going to Teen Pact this year. I would love to but just havent really thought about it :) your definately going?! I’m sure you’ll take that roll as Governor like nobodys buisiness :P

    it was good to hear from you!

    C*

  8. Wow. That reminds me of something I learned in evangelism class last summer. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 applies to “giving” your faith to other, too.

    ~Nella

  9. Yeah, I definatly struggle with fearing men more than God. Really its crazy though. What can man do to you? The worst he could do is kill you, and yet God is so powerfull he has conqoured death itself. Its Him we should be fearing.

  10. Excellent article and excellent point, Tim. May God continue to place evangelism on the hearts of our generation. And let us act.

    Quick note: I had trouble following the story at first, then I figured out what was wrong. It seems that the link to “NeedGod.org” has eaten up a good bit of the post.

  11. So true. I know my biggest fear a lot of the time is being considered an ‘annoying’ Christian…but what else can you do? It’s either hot or cold, and I’d rather be hot.

    Awesome post!

  12. tim- i just read about you in World magazine. keep up the good work that you are doing. it is so encouraging to see that other kids are standing for living a revolutionary life. you are doing a great job. oh…and the post was REALLY good. :)
    ~A.J.

  13. It’s not so much Psychical “persecution” we see. We see more Verbal Persecution. I recently went on a Mission Trip to Russia and I brought forth the Gospel many times and I was always nervous, But I just asked God to calm my nerves so that i could bring the Gosple forth more cleary. and after I prayed that my fear seemed to dissapper, I was still somewhaht nervous but not as much I before. This post really talks about this, Why should we fear man? Really there is no explanation. We should really fear God much more.

  14. Hey tim. great post, im happy this is the one i got to read on a whim, havent been reading blogs latley. I totally understand you on this one, happened to me alot, still does actually. Theres a connection between persecution and fear, one which shouldent exist. God told joshua to be couragous and not to fear (Joshua 1:9, read the context too for more understanding), matt 10:28 states “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

    It is a hard life to live as a christian, but resistance creates brilliance. To share effectivly (in person) one must throw caution into the wind and come out with speaking the truth. Always remember, that it is not your message, and it is not by your power that your speaking it. Without Gods strength you will always be too afraid, too worried about offending the person, rely on Him. With God all things are possible, He can even give young men like you and I the courage to boldly proclaim the gospel.

    Stay strong, fight the good fight brother.

  15. and amen to Cameron Schmahl, i made my first post before reading any comments.

  16. For thsoe who are TRULY serving Jesus Christ as TRUE DISCIPLES, there indeed is REAL persecution in this nation. As a Christian of 35 years, on the front lines of battle for Jesus in America many times, I have experienced persecution for the Word of God that has taken me to Jail, prison (Christian pro-life) and put my life in danger many times. I have been treatened with death and abduction for my Christian witness and stand for Jesus against very dark forces in our nation. I have sufered much persecution for being a misssionary in NYC adn other locations.I have lost my jobs many times for refusing to LEAVE JESUS OUTSIDE THE WORK PLACE. I have been warned that I would be TERMINATED by one government agency for daring to perform Christian journalism that exposed government corruption…but GOD CALLED ME TO SPEAK OUT and I cannot be silent. For the TRUE DISCIPLE OF CHRIST, there indeed is persecution…and some have died for Jesus already, in our nation, although the news will NEVER tell you about it.

    -Pamela Rae, investigative journalist and evangelist for Jesus nationwide

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