In this current series, I have been sharing ideas regarding our current rights as Americans and the faith we hold dear. The Constitutions foundation and the fact that Jesus came to “seek and save those that are lost” are the foundations we live by in this country. Today, I will share with you a story that is common outside of the United States, but is becoming more and more evident in the days to come.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has recently been convicted of sharing his faith in Iran. According to several news sources, the Iranian government has given Pastor Nadarkhani the death sentence for his alleged crimes against Islam. Pastor Nadarkhani is an example of a peaceful living man, sharing his faith with friends and family only to be killed for his faith.
During the recent trials of Pastor Nadarkhani, he was asked to renounce his faith in Christ. His response was simple yet profound. I don’t know the entire quote, but I believe it went something like this, “How can I renounce the truth that I know?” The judges told him, “Because it is the faith of your fathers.” Pastor Nadarkhani’s response was gentle and true. He told the judges that he cannot renounce what he knows to be true.
We don’t hear of these stories often in the news, but it shows us some simple explanations of how the Christian faith is viewed around the world. According to Jesus, he said, “All men will hate you because of me.” (Luke 21:17 NIV1984) The reality of our world is that most people will hate Christians just because they believe in Jesus. Jesus clearly stated that we are to be “light” and “salt” to the earth. What does this mean?
To be light is to expose what is hidden in the dark. In recent days, I have found that the people who owned my house before me did things that were kept hidden in the dark. I found old concrete, moldy sheetrock, old copper pipes and much other trash that was hidden behind walls. It was only found because I exposed the wall, and placed a light onto it. I have found walls that needed to be secured and incorrectly installed electric. In this scenario, I was a light unto my own house. The same holds true of Christians. When we enter a room and start a relationship, the very nature of our being exposes what others have been trying to hide. Jesus shines through us in order to expose the sin and bring that person to Himself.
At the same time we are to be salt. Except for the excessive use of salt, salt is used to enhance the flavor of what it is being added to. It is to bring delight and excitement, but it is also to bring thirst. We are to make others thirsty for Christ so that He can quench that thirst. We are to be delightful and exciting, not boring and angry. Our lives are to reflect a sense of interest and curiosity for the sole purpose of leading them to Christ.
The result of our living peaceful, delightful, light exposing lives is hatred. People don’t want to see what is in their lives. I know I don’t’. Pastor Nadarkhani is doing just that. From what we know of him, he is delightful, respectful and peaceful. He is fulfilling for his life the life Christ has for him. Is this about Pastor Nadarkhani? Do a degree, but it is more of an alarm going off to wake us up to this reality. Most people don’t love Jesus, they only love what they can hide.
Pastor Nadarkhani is not hiding, nor is he hiding the love of Christ from others. When confronted by the religious leaders of his nation, he told them the truth of his faith. If you want to share how you feel about this situation, there are various places you can go to in order to help. You can visit www. aclj.org and sign a petition that will allow them to assist freeing Pastor Nadarkhani. You can also write to your Senator or Congressperson to let them know you stand by Pastor Nadarkhani and would like to see him freed.
You can also pray for either the Iranian government to change their minds or to allow the chains to fall off of Pastor Nadarkhani like the disciples experienced. God can do anything He chooses. If He allows this Pastor to face death, then God will take care of his family. If He is freed, then the Word of God can continue to go out into the entire world. Whatever the outcome, God is in control.
Remember, just because we live in a free society doesn’t mean that we too won’t face this one day. Pray and support Pastor Nadarkhani and pray that our country doesn’t go down this same path. God bless and encourage someone today.