Modern Challenges: The Silent Persecution of Christians in the 21st Century

Believers in Christ still deal with ostracization and persecution in many parts of the world in the 21st century. From cultural and psychological mistreatment in the West to physical abuse in other parts of the world, persecution has always been part of the Christian experience. In what ways might you and other Christians suffer for your belief in Christ?

People Abandoning the Golden Rule

It is easy to find Christian persecution stories demonstrating how inhumane people can be. While most religions and secular ethics contain a form of the golden rule, it appears to go out the window when dealing with followers of Jesus Christ.In June 2023, four Muslim men kidnapped, gang-raped, murdered, and doused the body of a female member of the Church of Pakistan. Community members believe her refusal to convert to Islam was a factor. In Nigeria, persecution has turned into genocide, according to the Vatican News, which reports that over 52,000 Christians have died since 2009 at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists. Where is the world’s outcry?

Facing Persecution at Work, Home, and Churches

Religious persecution is as varied as it is widespread, including the destruction or harassment of Christian businesses, homes, and churches. While you might not view it in the same context as martyrdom, negatively affecting someone’s ability to live productive lives can have dire consequences for individuals, families, and the entire community.In Western countries like the United States, the persecution is often more subtle but no less impactful. Take, for example, the 2019 decision of the San Antonio city council to ban Chick-fil-A from opening a business in the city airport because of the owner’s religious beliefs. Then there is the famous case involving the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. The owner was harassed legally and socially on two separate occasions by customers and the state because he refused to bake cakes based on his Christian beliefs.Persecution is worse in other parts of the world. In August of 2023, a mob in Jaranwala, Pakistan, attacked a dozen churches and twice as many Christian homes. Under the pretext that two people desecrated the Quran, rioters smashed windows, burned buildings, and looted furniture and other items. Azeem Masih wept as he described how people brought vehicles to carry away furniture as he stood outside his burned home. It takes a deep faith to persevere in these situations.It’s not just atheists in America or Muslims in Pakistan mistreating followers of the gospel. In May 2023, nationalistic Hindus in Manipur destroyed Christian homes, businesses, and 25 churches. In this wave of violence, six people also lost their lives. It is a testament to their faith that Christians endure in many regions of the world.

Girls and Women Will Suffer More

It is an inconvenient truth that many of your sisters in Christ suffer additionally at the hands of persecutors in many parts of the world. Some lament that Christian women might be the most persecuted group worldwide.One estimate states that one out of every nine Christians will experience persecution at a high level during their lifetime. In many instances, those suffering abuse and mistreatment live within cultures where they exist as second-class citizens with diminished rights. Females get sexually assaulted, trafficked, and forced into marriages.Put yourself in the shoes of Sarah, a woman from North Africa who shared how her conversion to Christianity caused her father to beat her and kick her from the house. She later married, only to be mistreated by her husband. Her plight is more common than you think in Islamic countries where Christians are a minority, and it goes unnoticed when compared to the abductions, forced conscriptions, and death that males may face.

Persecution Challenges Today’s Christian Faithful

As a Christian, you should be willing to take up the cross in the face of persecution. A glimpse at today’s headlines affirms that things have not changed much in the last two thousand years, but take comfort knowing that scripture wrote of this. As it says in 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Amen.

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