“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” John 8:31-32.
I used to be one of those Christians who let others “fight the good fight” while I sat back quietly in my corner, but I’ve been nudged – in fact pushed – by strong Holy Spirit-led convictions to start standing up for what I believe in.
Yes, Jesus said: “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) and being meek is a godly virtue, but in His next breath He said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled,” (Matthew 5:6).
I can’t sit back any longer and watch Christians being marginalised in British Society or persecuted across the world. If you feel led to wear a cross at work, you should be able to wear one. If you feel prompted to ask someone if they need prayer, then why shouldn’t you go ahead and ask them, as long as you do it gently?
It’s been shocking to read in recent times that Christians are being persecuted for simple acts of faith, like Duke Armachree who lost his case having been sacked by Wandsworth Council for suggesting to a client with an incurable illness to try putting her faith in God. In another case, Jennie Cain, a Christian mother and part-time school receptionist, who was disciplined for sending an email to request prayer, had her case settled without going to court.
I am not alone in thinking that Christians should be able to act according to their beliefs. A survey conducted by pollsters ComRes for Christian Concern found 72 per cent of the public believe that Christians should be able to refuse to act against their consciences without being penalised by their employers. It also found 87 per cent of those questions did not believe health care workers should be threatened with the sack for offering to pray with patients.
Sam Webster left a law firm to work for the Christian Institute which defended Jennie Cain because of his beliefs. In Christianity Today, he said: “In dark corners of the world today there are men, women and children whose lives are on the line simply for following Christ. They would leap at the chance to enjoy just one day of our liberty. We owe it to them to cherish our freedom, and to defend it against those who seek to take it away. There is not one inch of liberty that isn’t worth fighting for.”
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said in Britain hostility towards Christianity came from a combination of “well-meaning” political correctness, multiculturalism and “overt opposition to Christianity”. As he launched the “Not Ashamed” a couple of years ago, Lord Carey said: “I am proud of our tradition of tolerance and our historic commitment to welcoming the stranger.
“Yet what many people don’t realise is that it is the Christian faith that underpins these great strengths and that has enriched our nation in so many other ways.
“This rich legacy is under attack. In spite of having contributed so much to our civilisation and providing its foundation, the Christian faith is in danger of being stealthily and subtly brushed aside.”
The Bible tells us we should respect everyone, which I endeavour to do. It’s when people overstep the mark that problems can occur.
Here in Britain, we are free to play our part in whatever way we choose. For a start, we can unite in prayer for peace, support organizations like Christian Concern, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Open Doors and obey Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbours as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39).
After all, we should remember, that as Paul said, if I “have not love, I am nothing” .