Many of you who are familiar with the Christian persecution stories posted and published by The Voice of the Martyrs have a distinct image of what suffering for one's faith looks like. Most, if not all, of these images have been planted in our minds from foreign lands such as China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, North Korea, etc. But why isn't the United States included on this list? Is it because Americans are more tolerant of Christianity? I would have to say no.
If you have checked out the curricula from preschool through graduate education in this nation, you'd notice that "tolerance" education permeates virtually every topic of study (that is tolerance of everything excluding Christianity). Everything from Islam to homosexuality to Wicca is to be viewed as cultural expressions or socially acceptable practices, and those disagreeing with such ideologies are earmarked as intolerant, bigoted, politically incorrect, or downright ignorant. This teaching sets the stage for hate crimes against Christians, increased legislation prohibiting evangelization and distribution of Christian literature, and anti-Christian movements geared toward undermining the church and biblical principles.
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.
Bottom line... what's keeping us from sharing Christ? Our comfort zones. Christians in Colombia, Vietnam, and Eritrea will walk many miles to share the gospel with hostile strangers, but we balk at the inconvenience of high gas prices, rejection, and spending our precious time on something other than our own personal endeavors. I'd be lying if I told you that my personal conquests haven't gotten in the way of my calling to spread God's Word. Now, I know there aren't any perfect Christians out there, but sometimes I wonder if we are missing the mark in our spiritual walks. When I see the faces of persecuted Christians from Bangladesh or Iran beaming with joy, even though they possess little more in this world than the clothes on their backs and the Bibles in their hands, I get to wondering if the mountain of possessions we've accumulated over our lifetimes has produced even a fraction of the joy that they have.
Have we traded in our Christian witness for our worldly prestige and material assets? Think closely before answering.