I find it interesting that Christianity thrives quite a bit when under persecution. When things get too comfy, Christians begin to relax and even fail. In the U.S. we have the Christianized American dream. We have the prosperity gospel. We have a Christian-ish way of living, a way to “spiritualize” what we do even if it isn’t Biblical. While not all of Christianity here has become watered down, a lot of it has.
Sometimes I half-jokingly comment that we could use a little persecution here. While no one would really want it and while it brings with it horrible things, it also brings with it good things like waking us up and showing other people that we really do mean this Jesus stuff. In places where Christians are persecuted, their governments are afraid of them. You can’t use fear to control someone who knows God is in control. You can’t threaten to take things from someone who knows their real riches aren’t here. You can’t threaten with death someone that knows their life doesn’t end here. You can’t threaten a person using their family and friends when they know they will see them again. This gets people’s attention! When you hold to something and Someone that you can’t see, people know something is up! You have something special and it must be real!
While I don’t really like the idea of being persecuted, it strikes me interesting the contrast it puts between Christians and the rest of the world. Jesus told us we would be persecuted (Luke 21:12; John 15:20), but we also have help from God Himself (2 Corinthians 4:7-10; Romans 8:35-39)!
Persecution isn’t pleasant, but it does have it’s good uses in God’s Kingdom.