In order to answer that question, let’s look at the definition. Merriam Webster dictionary defines social justice as: “A social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people.”
In the last few years the social justice movement has exploded; it’s become trendy to have a social justice issue you champion. My peers are seen sporting their Tom’s shoes or writing love on their arms. Human trafficking, clean water and child soldiers are some of the most popular causes, to name a few. I think it’s safe to say all of these causes are striving to eliminate some kind of injustice. Seeking to “remove an inequality” as the definition above states. And so they should: we want to see an end to these atrocities.
So where does Christian persecution fit into the social justice noise? I would submit to you that maybe it doesn’t, at least not in the way most other causes do. Based on the definition of social justice, it would lead us to believe that we are trying to remove or eliminate the injustice of Christian persecution. However, that shouldn’t be the goal, and it’s not the goal at The Voice of the Martyrs. II Timothy 3:12, Philippians 1:29, John 15:19-20 help explain why this can’t be our goal. The Bible says Christians will always be persecuted and suffer for their faith and it won’t end until Jesus returns.
In fact, what we do at VOM can even make persecution worse for Christians. If we didn’t deliver Bibles to believers in hostile and restricted countries, there might be less arrests. If we didn’t equip believers to share the gospel in Muslim countries, there might be less converts, which would mean less persecution, ostracism or honor killings. Whenever light and darkness collide so forcefully, there is a reaction. There are nations and areas where Satan has a stronghold of people in bondage and he won’t give it up easily.
In one sense, persecution can actually be seen as a specific Kingdom strategy. Persecution is a classic example of how what Satan means for evil, God uses for good. Often, persecution actually causes the church to grow and be built up. Paul says in Philippians 1:14 that because of his chains, other believers have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. The fastest growing church in the world is in Iran, a nation where it is illegal to convert to Christianity!
So what is our goal for persecuted Christians? It’s to be the body of Christ to them and with them. Persecuted Christians are not a cause, they are our family. You are standing with your family and saying, “yes I agree with you, Jesus is worth it all. And I will support you in this endeavor, whatever that looks like.” Maybe it’s that they are in danger and need to be in a safe house or maybe they need medical care from an attack or a pool to conduct secret baptisms or motorbikes to reach remote villages with the gospel. Whatever it is, we are their family and we are with them. And all of this is not with the hope of ending persecution; it’s with the hope of advancing God’s kingdom.
As you stand with them, you will start to notice you are not only giving but you are receiving as well. Your own faith is challenged and inspired by their lives and testimony. We start to ask ourselves the hard questions: “Have I also counted the cost to follow Christ?” So it’s not just one sided, it comes full circle; this is the beauty of the global body of Christ.
Brooke Parks serves on the staff of VOM as the youth & young adult coordinator. She was first introduced to the ministry of VOM by her parents and grandparents, who received the VOM newsletter, and through the VOM book Jesus Freaks. She has served in 12 different countries and is passionate about helping expand God’s Kingdom throughout the nations of the world.