Today while browsing on Pinterest, I came across something that took me by surprise. It shouldn't have, but I guess gruesome things just have a way of doing that.
One board that I follow posts things about God, and Christianity. Well, someone pinned a picture of a person's hand that looked as if someone took a knife and put multiple, deep cuts up each finger. Why was this done? Because this person was punished for reading the bible in a Muslim country.
I have seen multiple images of the bodily damage done by some those people in the middle east. It's really disturbing and heartbreaking to see how Christians can be treated over there.
The pin was saying to be sure we pray for the Christians being persecuted over there. We should pray for them; we should be praying that they can stay strong and not back down, even to the point of giving their lives for God.
Yet, there's some other people that need prayer: the persecutors themselves. It's hard sometimes to find it in ourselves to pray for these people-but the truth is, no matter how vile, evil, or horrible a person may seem, they absolutely NEED our prayers. God came to die for everyone-never, ever, should we let our human ideas and feelings get in the way of God's longing for everyone to come to him (2nd Peter 3:9).
Some of what we would consider some of the worst of people have come to God. Paul, is a prime example. He originally caused Christians to be put to death and thrown into prisons. Yet, God still saw fit to use Him. When we read the bible, we see some horrible things that some of them have done, yet God loved them and saw so much potential in them.
Now, as I type this, or as you're reading this, efforts are being made to take prayer and God out of certain parts of our country (such as our military). We're being called hateful, foolish, and stupid for our stances on certain issues. And, honestly, it will probably only get worse from here (unless something is done, that is).
Jesus told us what to do about those people. He tells us to pray for these people, and to treat them kindly (6:27-28). He also tells us to give respect and pray for our government officials (Romans 13:4-7, Matthew 22:16-21, 1st Peter 2:17). No matter how much we may dislike someone, or some government, God still commands us to treat them with love and respect.
Remember that Jesus says, "If the world hates you, know that they hated me before they hated you." (John 15:18)
We must still keep working, no matter the circumstance. Be kind to everyone, respect everyone, and obey God. This world needs your love, and your prayers. Don't let pride fill you up so much to the point that it fills your heart with hatred for those that don't believe.