Thursday, September 25, 2008

They’ll know we are Christians by our love

In the book Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand writes, “God will judge us not according to how much we endured, but how much we could love. The Christians who suffered for their faith in prisons could love. I am a witness that they could love God and men.”

In many of the reports received by VOMC, Christians demonstrate deep love and forgiveness for those who have harmed them. As unimaginable violence towards Christians spreads across India, survivors are speaking out about God’s faithfulness in their lives. Father Thomas, who survived vicious beatings and was almost killed, said while recovering in hospital: “Along with my physical wounds, Christ is healing my emotional scars; I feel no bitterness or anger; I am even prepared to serve those who attacked us.”
It is indeed encouraging and rewarding to hear stories of persecuted believers following Christ’s example. Yet, as brothers and sisters of those suffering around the world for their faith, it is not enough to simply be encouraged by their example. We too are called to love and forgive. That means loving the Hindu militants who brutally attacked Father Thomas and hundreds of others. It means praying for Iran’s President and those who wish to pass the draft bill to sentence to death those charged with apostasy. But it also means loving those people in our own lives that we would rather ridicule or dismiss. It requires us to forgive those who treat us unfavourably for our faith. We don’t suffer for our faith in the same way that Christians in Orissa, India do. But do we love as much? I know that I often fall short of showing Christ-like love to my neighbour.
Loving those who hate and forgiving those who harm requires the grace of God. To love and forgive is hard; yet it is the path we are called to walk.

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