by Sally Matheny
|Students with Bibles|
The effect of supporting “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” is greater than you think.
There are 195 independent countries in the world, plus approximately 60 dependent areas and five disputed territories.
According to Open Doors USA, the following countries are where Christians endure the most severe persecution for their faith:
1. North Korea
Bibles in their native languages are banned in many of these countries. Persecution includes oppression, imprisonment, and death. While we sympathize, many of us choose to isolate ourselves from the terrors abroad. Those countries are far away from us.
Guess which country ranked #40 on the list of 195 for persecuting Christians?
Our next-door neighbor, Mexico. That totally surprised me.
We can visit Open Doors USA and Voice of the Martyrs for better understanding and to learn ways to help.
But, what does all that have to do with our country and Bring Your Bible to School Day?
Americans enjoy religious freedom, right?
Compared to what the countries on Open Door’s Watch List experience, yes.
Yet, we frequently hear news of rebuked, American Christians who face dismissals and fines for standing firm in their beliefs.
Christian youth are not exempt.
There are reports of elementary, middle, and high school teachers trying to shame students for reading their Bibles during free time. A time when other students have a free choice of what material they want to read.
College students have been asked to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper and stomp on it.
And it’s not just the Christians who are noticing the mistreatment.
Atheist, Greg Lukianoff, wrote an interesting article for Forbes about his observance of “a sustained effort to punish evangelicals or push them off campus to a degree that would never be tolerated if aimed at other religious groups.”
He mentions an American university's dormitory Resident Assistants who were banned from leading Bible study meetings in their own rooms on their own time. Two other American universities are telling Christian students they can’t be recognized student groups because their beliefs “discriminate” against non-Christians.
So, what are America’s Christians to do?
First, do not be dismayed or overcome by the world’s taunting. The Bible tells us to expect such treatment. Be joyful and thankful, as we trust the Lord to work good through it all. Continue to pray for His will to be done.
Next, we must repent of our own sinful ways, especially if we’re compromising God’s perfect and Holy Word.
|Pray for wisdom and courage to share the love of Jesus.|
Also, we must trust God when He calls us to speak up.
Even though legal and public pressure will increase, we must diligently exercise the freedoms we still have.
We must teach the next generation what their rights are, and model how to exercise them respectfully.
Encourage Christian youth to have positive and caring conversations with unbelievers.
Support youth who wish to participate in events such as “Bring Your Bible to School Day.”
Together, pray for wisdom and courage in sharing the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
Someone’s eternal life may depend on it.