Standing Strong Through the Storm
THE PROCESS OF PERSECUTION-3: INJUSTICE
In his humiliation he [Jesus] was deprived of justice. Acts 8:33a
Christians experiencing persecution are following in the footsteps of their master, Jesus. In Acts chapter eight, Philip revealed to the Ethiopian eunuch that the passage from Isaiah 53 he was reading referred to Jesus who indeed was deprived of justice. Today in the Western world, we would describe His trial before crucifixion as occurring in a “kangaroo court!”
If disinformation about any group, including Christians, is disseminated long enough, no one will help when that group or person is discriminated against. Discrimination relegates Christians to second-class citizenship with inferior legal, social, political and economic status. Once discrimination takes place, no one will intervene when the mistreatment comes.
Examples of such injustice against Christians abound around the world: ID cards in a country where Christianity is an unacceptable entry in the religion column; daughters abducted because they are Christians; expulsion from the community just because they are evangelicals.
Christians in Pakistan are a small minority among a large Muslim majority and often face such discrimination. The problem is compounded by the fact that many Christians are illiterate and poor. One Christian teacher at a center training Christian women recently said, “We do face discrimination because we live in the midst of people who don’t want us to move forward; people who keep trying to push us down so that we will always be in slavery.”
But there is one repeated scene of injustice against Christians that occurs in Pakistan which brings me to tears which involves young Christian girls. As a father of two daughters and having six granddaughters, I shudder every time I read news reports that describe Christian family injustice in this land. The stories usually work out this way:
Muslim women must marry Muslim men but Muslim men are allowed to marry any woman they wish with the proviso that any children must be raised as Muslim. Consequently in Pakistan there are Muslim men who often desire some of the very beautiful young Christian girls in the community but realize there is no way their Christian families will agree to marriage. So these men resort to abduction.
The Christian father’s only option is to go to court where the judge—usually a Muslim—hears the case and pronounces to the Christian father, “Your daughter voluntarily converted to Islam and voluntarily married this Muslim man so you are to have no more contact with her. One of the most recent cases involved two young Christian sisters aged thirteen and ten. In this case, the judge allowed the ten-year-old to return home to her family but not the thirteen-year-old.
Safwan, a secret believer in Algeria, found a Christian pamphlet between the paperwork given him at work and started reading it. Upon discovering him reading the pamphlet, his boss reported him to the police. Later that night the police visited him and searched his entire home. They found Christian CD’s, several Christian movies and a New Testament. “It was clear to them that I had become a Christian. My boss fired me.”
RESPONSE: Today I will work toward justice for everyone in my own country and around the world.
PRAYER: Lord, be with those experiencing discrimination today because they love and serve You.