Friday, January 12, 2024

Hated and Hunted - Martin Wiles

hated and hunted
And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Exodus 1:21 NLT

Being hated is one thing, but being hated and hunted is even worse. 

“If you are worshiping the Lord freely, if you live as a Christian without fear of attack, and if you can carry a Bible in your hands on the streets, then you are a blessed person,” a pastor friend said.

Before becoming a Christian, he had belonged to the Communist Party. But after becoming a believer, he dedicated his life to helping impoverished women and orphaned children in his native country. He also trains other ministers to help him spread the gospel in a country where many want nothing to do with Jesus Christ and will persecute—and even kill—those who do. 

In his homeland, many lose their lives, homes, jobs, and other precious things simply because they are Christians in a country that is not friendly to Christians. I remember the video he once sent showing a group of missionaries with Bibles in the trunk of their car. Nationalists stopped the missionaries, snatched the Bibles from the trunk, piled the Bibles on the ground, and set them afire. 

In many states of his country, the government has passed anti-conversion laws, making those who have converted to Christianity ineligible for government jobs, as well as prohibiting them from using other state facilities. Many churches are forcefully closed or burned, and many pastors are jailed on false charges. 

Fanatical conservatives stabbed one local pastor and his wife while their children attended school. They loathed him because he had planted five churches and invited nationalists to convert to Christianity. Despite the daily persecution, many in this country daily choose Christianity. 

I suppose the two Hebrew midwives who helped the Israelite women deliver their babies also felt hated and hunted. When a new king came to power, he saw how the Hebrew slaves multiplied and worried they might overthrow his kingdom. He ordered the midwives to kill all baby boys they delivered. But the midwives feared God more than the king and refused to obey his order. 

Following Christ entails being hated and hunted. Jesus said people would hate us because they hated Him. I’ve never experienced what my pastor friend and his friends experience. In my country, I can still worship freely without threat, but even in the land of the free and the home of the brave, the enemies of Christianity try to repress religious expression in subtle ways. 

When we find ourselves among the hated and hunted—to whatever extent that might entail—let’s remember God controls even the persecution and its forms. Persecution refines and strengthens our faith. It also leads us to seek wisdom from God, so we’ll know how to keep spreading the gospel amid the threats. At the very least, we can do what Jesus said: pray for our enemies so that they might open their eyes to the truth. 

And like the Hebrew midwives, we must stand firm and hold tightly to the truth, regardless of how intense the hatred and hunting might be—even if it leads to our death. In the end, truth will win, and a new heaven and earth will be our home. 

Make up your mind to stand firm for Christ, even when misunderstood, laughed at, avoided, or persecuted in other ways. 

Father, give us strength to stand fast when hated and hunted.

Tweetable: Are you hated and hunted for your faith? 

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