The mood was somber, almost harsh. The Lithuanian court was meeting to determine the sentence for Nijole Sadunaite. Her “crime,” like so many others’, was simply being a Christian in a Communist nation.
Then the judge offered her a final chance to speak. He eagerly waited for the young woman to tearfully beg for mercy. Perhaps she would even renounce her ridiculous faith in God. Yet he was in for a surprise.
There were no tears from Nijole. Her face shone, and a beautiful smile began to form. Her eyes held warmth, even for her accusers.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” said the condemned woman. “I am on trial for the cause of truth and love toward men.”
Now, every eye in the courtroom was on her. “I have an enviable fate, a glorious destiny. My condemnation here in this courtroom will be my ultimate triumph.”
The passion in her voice was unmistakable. “I regret only that I have done so little for men. Let us love each other, and we will all be happy. Only the one who has no love will be sad.”
She turned her attention away from the judge and peered into the eyes of other believers who watched the trial. “We must condemn evil, but we must love the man, even the one in error. This you can learn only at the school of Jesus Christ.”
When it comes to learning about those who have been persecuted for the sake of Christ, take notes. Class is in session. From the relative safety of our homes and communities, we may read the stories of Christian martyrs. We may even shudder as we turn the pages. However, are we ready to enroll in the school of Jesus Christ? Are we ready to study side by side with those who have walked the lonely path of oppression? We must apply what we learn from them about faith, love, holiness, and endurance. Only when we identify with the sufferings of Christ through the experiences of others can we truly call ourselves “Christians,” meaning “little Christs.” Only then will we be ready to pass the test.
Source: The best selling book Extreme Devotion which you may purchase in our The Voice of the Martyrs bookstore.