I read this article several years ago. We see it in the news all the time, usually much worse than this, but my heart was caught by this young man’s story. Occasionally you may hear an American Christian speak of persecution. It is not unknown here and I do believe it will increase; but we hardly know the meaning of the word in this country.
We speak of the problems we have here. They are real. Our church exists to address a small part of them. My thought is that if ever there was a definition of “one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them” (Matt 25:40) it is the persecuted church around the world. The original article and the site it came from are gone now, but another has taken up the cause. Explore the site. See what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, China, India, North Korea, Vietnam, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Indonesia, and the list goes on. People who didn’t have much to start with are losing family, home, and livelihood for the sake of Jesus’ name. We should be doing what we can to help everyone who is in need, but I believe we have a special responsibility to these who have given all to follow Him. In a nation so rich that even our homeless can find enough to live on and in some cases have cell phones and Internet access, are we doing enough to help our fellow brothers and sisters who have been driven from their homes, crowded into squalid refugee camps, and tortured for their faith? I don’t think so.
In February Jehanzaib Asher, 22, was working in a barbershop his family jointly owns with his cousin in Wana, South Waziristan – a Taliban stronghold in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan’s northwest – when the Islamic militants showed up to try to convert him to Islam.
It was not the first time the Taliban’s Noor Hassan had delivered strident sermons to him and his relatives, and this time Asher decided not to listen silently. He defended Christianity by citing verses from the Bible, and Hassan and another Islamic militant viciously beat him – breaking his left leg and some ribs and leaving his left hand non-functional.