Right on the cusp of what should be an important remembrance (The National Day of Prayer), controversy reared up to throw many in the church into a tizzy.
On Tuesday, Fox News released a story citing an inflammatory statement from a spokesperson for the Pentagon which suggested Christians could be court marshaled for “proselytizing”.
This caused an uproar of concern for many Christians, because let’s face it, the parameters of what might be considered “proselytizing” could be loosely translated. And many of the words being used (by an organization apparently consulted when the military was crafting this new policy) to describe Christians who share their faith with others were hostile (even shocking) in the extreme.
Thankfully, another statement from the Pentagon has been released assuring freedom of both religion and speech within the military, offering a clarification of what their religious policy entails and defining the parameters of what they mean by “proselytizing”.
Here’s the thing.
The church worldwide (past and present) is no stranger to persecution (be it through unfair legal action, hostile language, or acts of cruel or deadly violence). There are believers who truly understand what it means to be harassed because of their faith. As American Christians, we truly have no conception of what it means to face such hostility (for many on a daily basis). And what we are seeing now is tame in comparison to the reality others face.
““Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.” Matthew 24:9 NLT
As my husband stated today in a post on Facebook: “It’s time to put on our big boy (or girl) pants and get ready, because we are going to be on the hard end of things until Jesus comes back. Time to step up people. If we had spent more time acting like the JESUS we profess, then we wouldn’t be in this deep”.
Today is The National Day of Prayer. But how many of us (and I include myself) have taken the time to actually pray today?
If we are going to “step up”, a change is going to have to be made. I realize this reality (acutely) in myself. For too long, the church has focused on something other than being what we are meant to be –disciples of Jesus Christ. imitating our Lord with every word and deed.
Something tells me if we are to step up for the difficult days to come, we will have to make a clear choice. Cling to what we know or live our faith and witness in the light of what it means to follow Jesus in more than name.