Death in the Family
“It is human nature to value what we can see over what we cannot see. But such a materialistic view of life obscures all that gives life its greatest meaning.” Jim Denison
“He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, And their blood will be precious in his sight;” Psalm 72:14
After several months of constant persecution, a delightful young Pakistani brother (18), a brother of yours and mine, was kidnapped and beaten to death only a few days ago. Why? Because he was a follower of Jesus.
Today’s More than Meets the Eye weekly digest finds us much closer to a tragic event than any of our family and friends would prefer to be. Not to be found anywhere in the local or international media, a young man’s family grieves alone. This event was more than likely not significant enough to report in Pakistan. A Christian’s only son, the hope of a father and mother was beaten to death because he would not declare that Mohammed was God’s prophet.
In Pakistan, the Christians are relegated to second class citizenship. They serve as the nation’s street sweepers, garbage collectors and servant help. They are required to pay a tax called “jizya” . Anyone who is not a Muslim must pay the tax. The only other options to paying the jizya are to convert to Islam..or to die.
My very close friend, former Imam and like a son to me, Amir was rescued by this poor street sweeper and his family. The young man who was murdered was their son. When Amir became a believer in Christ, this family literally saved his life. They, in their poverty went to great lengths to protect him from those who were seeking to kill him. They sacrificed their own safety to save Amir. When it became too dangerous to keep him in their city any longer, they sold the only bike they had to get him a bus ticket to safety. Such is the pure and simple devotion of this family.
The son, a bright young man in high school was kidnapped by classmates and taunted to convert to Islam. When he refused, an Imam was called in to try to convert him as well. When our young brother refused to say the shahada, the Imam apologized for the kidnapping and told him he was free to go.
Upon hearing the story, especially that the Imam had released the boy, my brother, Amir warned the family that they needed to get their son to a safe place immediately. He assured them that their son would be killed soon. However, the father believed that everything would be okay. Sadly, he did nothing.
We were notified on Monday morning that two young men and two policemen found the street sweeper’s son, took him to a quiet place and beat him to death with rods. They warned others including the boy’s parents that the same would happen to them if they tried to take them to the courts. Other police came on the scene, acted concerned and then left. Very likely, nothing will be done.
Other than the fact that the murder of our brother a few days ago has personally affected me and my loved ones, why is this particular violent extremist event so important?
- The family of the boy who was killed is our family! (Eph 2:19) He was our brother. It ought to impact us deeply and should not be treated with casual concern.
- This form of Islamist extremism is certainly on the rise, especially in places such as South Asia. At some point it will bleed over into our communities at home.
- We can learn much from our Pakistani Christian brothers and sisters. Their faithfulness unto death is a quality that I suspect for many of us is foreign. We may ask ourselves, “Why not just say the “shahada?” After all, isn’t it better to live than to die? If we do not allow the testimonies of our severely persecuted brothers and sisters to influence us, we may actually end up believing that nothing is really worth dying for.
- Islamist extremists have declared war on the USA, Israel and India. Unlike many of us, they are focused on their tasks. They are preparing, planning and training to wreak havoc on whoever does not conform to their understanding of Islam. They are conducting a severe pronged war against their enemies. On one hand they are successfully creating an environment where anything that looks like criticism of anything related to Islam is to be labeled “islamophobic.” With this strategy, they are shutting down a lot of discussion even before it happens. On the other hand, they continue to create an environment of fear and intimidation throughout the Western and developed world. Academia and politicians are hesitant to raise any kind of dialogue because they are scared. Fear is a powerful motivator to remain silent.
The longer I am a Christian and the older I become, simply doing nothing is no longer an option for me. There is a famous quote by Edmund Burke that says, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I cannot sit idly by, while evil triumphs in this world. My recommendation for action this week is specifically focused on helping brothers and sisters who are being persecuted unto death.
What can you and I do instead of being merely bystanders while evil continues all around us? Here is one way we can be proactive forces in the world. Think about the word, “Lead.”
Listen- As you pray, listen to what God may be saying to you about what is happening in the world around you, in your community, city, state, country and world. Learn to listen with unadulterated ears, open to what He may be saying to you.
Educate yourself- Reading the weekly digests from More than Meets the Eye is a good start. Allow yourself to be exposed to other solid news sources. In our new website, I am profiling scores of media outlets, providing you with some simple information as to how you might be able to explore deeper what is happening in the world. morethanmeets.co
Appeal- Pray for those you read about. Pray specifically and intelligently. Mobilize others to join you. Do we not believe that God hears the prayers and intercessions of his children?
Do something.- Once you have interceded on behalf of someone or a situation, ask God if he would have you do something about it. Every week I include ways that each of us can get involved, by suggesting to you organizations that are doing well affecting the outcome of global events around us.
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
Revelation 6:9-11 ESV
Open Doors… This organization has proven to be a consistently reliable and effective organization assisting Christians all around the world who suffer persecution in all forms. https://www.opendoors.org
Voice of the Martyrs… probably has the most effective communication system for assisting brothers and sisters around the world. They keep their fingers on the pulse of the persecuted church.https://www.persecution.com
International Justice Mission… They serve all kinds of people who are being persecuted, tortured, trafficked or abused. https://www.ijm.org
Advocates International… They are an established and effective organization using advocates from all over the world to assist Christians who are being persecuted. http://www.advocatesinternational.org
Christian Solidarity International… They advocate for persecuted believers around the world… http://csi-usa.org/middle-east-persecution/
How One Western Christian Can Serve the Persecuted Church… This is a great article about helping Western Christians know how they can help. http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2013/10/31/western-christian-serve-persecuted-church/
AYAAN HIRSI ALI:THE GLOBAL WAR ON CHRISTIANS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD… A powerful article written by a much maligned woman who is being hunted by Islamists around the world. http://www.newsweek.com/ayaan-hirsi-alithe-global-war-christians-muslim-world-65817
Do Americans Care About Persecuted Christians?… An article by Tom Nettleton asking about how we as Christians seem to not really care about persecuted churches world-wide. http://www.persecutionblog.com/2013/09/do-americans-care-about-persecuted-christians.html
Release International… A British organization that is assisting the Church world-wide. They are doing a great job of helping the body of Christ understand what is happening and how they can impact it. http://www.releaseinternational.org
Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS)… is an interdenominational organization working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan. http://www.claas.org.uk/about-us/