by Toni Birdsong
The direct message in my Facebook inbox was titled “enough Jesus already.”
The message, sent by a longtime friend, just got better from there. “I regret having to do this but I have to defriend you. I’m seriously over the 24/7 Jesus feed. If you want to go to church, do you really have to do it on Facebook? So that’s it. Don’t take it personally.”
I logged-off and prayed. A few hours later I wrote my friend back. I told him I would miss the great updates about his life and the pictures of his adorable kids but that I respected his point of view and still loved him.
Then I told him this: “You said not to take it personally but I’ll confess, I’m actually overjoyed to take it personally. You see, to be associated with Jesus Christ is my highest honor. You don’t know Him yet but He’s amazing! Who else do you know who would willingly climb up on a cross and suffer a violent death in your place? When He did that for me, and I truly understood it, it “clicked” in my heart in a huge way. His gesture meant that I—a total misfit and sinner—would get to experience God’s friendship and love . . . forever. So, you see, you defriending me is one ‘nail’ I can take. If this is the price I have to pay for sharing that miracle, then please, defriend me.”
In America in the 21st century, most Christians experience “cushy” persecution. We may not get invited to certain parties. We might get passed over for a promotion or even fired. Some of us might get called names like “Jesus freak,” or “church nerd.” Or—God-bless the bludgeoned—we may get blocked or de-friended online.
Then there’s Paul. Second Corinthians 11:24-27 describes in dramatic detail the hardships Paul endured.
“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”
When’s the last time you used words like “lashed, beaten, pelted, perilous, danger, hunger and thirst” when catching someone up on the happenings in your ministry or in your church? Exactly.
During his ministry Paul also covered an estimated 14,000 miles on foot, was jailed several times, run out of towns, and finally beheaded for preaching the gospel.
Indeed, most of us are far from being persecuted for identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ. If you still aren’t convinced, go visit Voice of the Martyrs and prepare to have your perspective rocked. Permanently.
Sharing my faith in my online channels is the very least I can do. To keep a lid on what I know would be like walking through a cancer ward with a cure in my pocket . . . and not saying a word. I can’t not share the miracle.
Oh, and my Facebook friend—he didn’t defriend me after all. In fact, since our brief exchange we’re talking twice as much! God’s up to something. Alas, I’ve narrowly escaped persecution once again . . .
Tweet/Post this today: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~Galatians 6:9
Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? What did you learn?
If you liked this post, you’ll love the book. Order your copy of @stickyJesus TODAY! Learn how to be “sticky” like Jesus & make a difference in your social networks!