I once talked to Pastor Noble Alexander, who died in 2002, about his years in a Cuban prison. (His story is told in the book I Will Die Free.) Pastor Alexander was severely beaten for refusing to work at his prison job on the Sabbath. Finally the guards gave up, decided he had mental issues, and allowed him to rest on the Sabbath. Pastor Noble said other prisoners then claimed to be Christians to get out of work. To “prove” they were Christians, they attended Bible classes taught by the pastor. As a result, many were saved. “Faith comes by hearing,” Pastor Noble said.
We respect the pastor for his stand and rejoice in the results. But do I expect more of persecuted Christians than I do of myself? Isaiah 58 admonishes us to not even “find your own pleasure” or “speak your own words” on the Sabbath. Do I do that?
I thought of this again when I learned about Parveen in Pakistan. A brief story about her situation is on the Kids of Courage website at here.
Parveen could have avoided a lot of trouble by just agreeing to work for her Muslim employers on Sunday. After all, it was just one Sunday, and Jesus did say, “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).
Are persecuted Christians foolish for inviting persecution in this way? I don’t think many of us would say that. Does that then require me to change some of my ideas about the way I spend time on Sundays? Or do I have a double standard? Are there other areas where I might have a double standard about my actions and the actions of Christians in restricted nations? I wonder.