THOSE "OTHER BROTHERS" IN CHRIST
By Lydia Goodman
February 17, 2015
“With our blood and soul we will sacrifice ourselves for the cross.” -Coptic Christian Chant
By now, most of us have seen or heard of the Sunday night reports of a new propagandist video circulated by ISIS showing the beheading of Coptic Christians in Libya. Retaliatory attacks were launched by Egypt against Libya on Monday. I never thought I’d say this... but, “Yay, Egypt!” As I watched the Sunday night news, one commentator said that, and I paraphrase, “there are new fears that ISIS is shifting into a religious war...”
Sunday’s video, entitled “A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross”, has a scrolling caption in the first few seconds referring to the hostages as “People of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian Church”.
21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, clad in Guantánamo-inspired orange jumpsuits, were brutally beheaded in one swell swoop by evil-possessed hands. Many of the martyrs could be heard crying, “Oh Jesus” or “Oh God” as they were pushed to their knees awaiting their fate.
Expressing his "profound sadness" over the killings, Pope Francis said the Copts "were executed for nothing more than the fact that they were Christians...”
I don’t know about you, but there has never been a doubt in my mind that ISIS, Boko Haram, and other world-wide terrorist groups, including the brutal Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, has had one sole purpose-- to exterminate Christians and other minority faith groups like rats from their countries as quickly and as brutally as they can.
I have researched and written extensively for almost three years on the unremitting persecution that Egyptian Coptic Christians endure, not just from jihadists and Muslim extremists, but from their own people and from their own government. I can truthfully say that out of all the articles I have written, the articles on human rights violations and the severe circumstances that people of faith find themselves in garners the least amount of attention and response. While Christians and people of faith are being tortured, persecuted, driven from their homes, imprisoned, crucified, and beheaded simply because of their beliefs, we count ourselves blessed because we don’t have to endure the same and...
We look away.
I have reached several conclusions about why there are Christians who don’t seem to care about these “other brothers” in Christ:
• We don’t know what to do or how to pray.
• They are a world away. If it’s not in our own backyard, it is easy to dismiss their suffering. It’s the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome.
• They worship differently than we do. Their churches, their rituals, and their traditions are different than ours.
• They look and act differently from us and what we don’t understand, we choose to ignore.
• Here’s another one. We have a “Christian” president who refuses to acknowledge that ISIS is engaged in a “religious” war and alludes that somehow there must be a political solution.
Guys, here’s the deal. Don’t think and don’t say that there is nothing you can do for the suffering and persecuted and don’t count on politicians who won’t or can’t resolve it. We have the greatest of all tools at our disposal. When was the last time you took the time to pray for our fellow believers in Christ? When is the last time you prayed for those in the field or for those ministries and organizations working frantically to save lives? Have you forgotten that our battle is not against flesh and blood? Stop turning your head and looking the other way as if this could not happen to you. It can. Whether it be at the end of a blade or whether you are called upon to defend your faith at the risk of being labeled “politically incorrect”, we will all have our time of persecution to some extent. However, know this. We are told to pray for those persecuted.
Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3
I stumbled upon this and found it to be of great help in learning how to pray specifically for those that are being persecuted for “His namesake”. I hope it will encourage you to do the same:
“When we read of the suffering which our brothers and sisters in Christ endure for the sake of His Name, our hearts are moved and we long to bring them before the throne of grace. But sometimes it is difficult to know exactly how to pray, especially if we have never experienced such injustice or persecution ourselves. The Bible tells us that the Church will be persecuted. So if the Lord will continue to allow persecution, what exactly should we ask Him for when we pray about these situations? We hope that the ten points below will be helpful suggestions, under the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit.
God that He is all-knowing that in Christ He himself experienced shame,
pain and agonizing death, as well as the glorious resurrection. Thank
Him for His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”
• Pray that all governments will work for justice and righteousness. While Jesus says that in this world we will have trouble, (John 16.33) He does not say that it will always be present in every place.
• Pray that leaders of liberal democracies will use their influence to find ways to reduce, if not end, persecution in countries where it occurs. Just as Paul appealed to Caesar to seek justice (Acts 25), so Christians can appeal to secular governments.
• Pray for the growth of the Church where persecution flourishes, remembering that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
• Pray for strength and courage for those undergoing persecution, and for peace that only God can bring. Thank Him that His grace is sufficient for their needs (2 Cor 12:9).
• Pray that their faith will not fail, but that their suffering will draw them closer to Him and increase their faith.
• Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable persecuted Christians to forgive and love their persecutors (Matt 5:44) and that their Christ-like reactions will have an impact on their persecutors.
• Pray that the Lord will be at work in the hearts of those who currently persecute our sisters and brothers to bring them to a saving knowledge of Himself, as He did with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9).
• Thank the Lord for the privilege of entering into the sufferings of our sisters and brothers, remembering that “if one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).
Pray that Christians who are experiencing persecution will not lose the
ability to accept or trust genuine approaches from those who have formerly
persecuted them, as when the believers in Jerusalem had to learn to accept
the reality of Saul’s conversion (Acts 9).
• Pray that the Lord will give discernment, and relief from unnecessary fears.
• Pray for yourself and for persecuted Christians to be spiritually ready for whatever tomorrow brings, be that persecution, respite from suffering or Christ’s return (Matt 24.42).
Oh, to have the faith of these martyrs!
Other articles about the persecuted Coptic Church by Lydia Goodman:
Against Coptic Christians Escalates
2- “But No One Came...” The Plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt
3- See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil: Egypt’s Forgotten People
4- Egypt: Hell on Earth
© 2015 Lydia Goodman - All Rights Reserve
As a writer and commentator, Lydia Goodman is passionate about speaking out against progressive policies that threaten to erode our personal rights, freedoms, and traditions. Lydia has also written numerous articles on world human rights issues, in an effort to focus attention on the atrocities perpetuated against people of faith.