Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. – Hebrews 13:3
It looks like a smiley face doesn’t it? But I assure you that to the family who sees this image on the outside of their front door in countries like Iraq or Syria, it creates sheer terror. You see, that symbol is actually the painted and encircled Arabic letter ن or N, which to ISIS is shorthand for “Nazarene,” or in other words, “Christians live here. This is now the property of the Islamic State.”
Most of us have seen the graphic examples of this contemporary terrorism, which is built around a horrendous religious ideology perpetrated by perhaps one of modern history’s most barbaric and egregious movements against the human race that we have ever seen. No one is spared from this demonic barrage of death. Babies are cut open and dismembered, mothers are raped in front of their children, fathers are beheaded and pushed into mass graves and others who happen to get in the way are openly crucified. The horrors are indescribable.
But did you know that these events, as horrible as they may be, are but a tip of the proverbial iceberg of what goes on in our world everyday against Christians in places like North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, China, India, Eritrea and many others? Persecution of Christians is on the increase and the world for the most part, including the church, remains silent.
It is estimated by reliable sources, that on the average each day 322 Christians are killed for their faith; 214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed; and 772 forms of violence are performed against Christians. Beatings, physical torture, confinement, isolation, rape, severe punishment, arrests, imprisonment, slavery, discrimination in education and employment, forced marriages and death are just a few examples. According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians). Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face these types of persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.*
The anti-Christian laws of many nations lead to believers being harassed, imprisoned, killed or deprived of possessions or liberties because of their witness for Christ. Many of these countries have government policies or practices that prevent Christians from obtaining Bibles or other Christian literature. In other countries, even though the governments may give lip-service to religious liberty (some countries even have it written in their Constitutions), Christians are routinely persecuted by family, friends, neighbors or political groups because of their witness.**
Now why am I telling you all of this? Because these are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Another land, yes. Another language, yes. Another faith, no. They are part of the Body of Christ and they need our help and prayers. I invite you to watch this 2-minute video and join me in its challenge:
Will you lock arms with me in this urgent need to help those Jesus called, “the least of these My brethren” (Mt. 25:40)? Together we can make a difference.
Just reply, “I Am N” and I’ll show you the next steps you can take. I’m praying fervently to hear from you. Maranatha!
To help us walk closer with God and to know Him better.