“When there is persecution there is also an opportunity, because people are watching.”
Todd Nettleton from Voice of the Martyrs has had the opportunity to sit with persecuted brothers and sisters from all over the world. He’s heard the same truth over and over – Jesus is better, and we are a witness.
Todd shares the story of two women who lived in Turkey. Their husbands were martyred in 2007, murdered by five men who wanted to drive Christians from the land. The two women appeared on national television the next day and offered forgiveness to the men who had killed their husbands for their faith.
“In a Muslim context, that’s absolutely earth-shattering. Because in a Muslim context, if you hit me then I’m going to hit you back harder. If you kill one of my children, then I’m going to kill two of yours. That vengeance and that payback is so baked into the culture. These two ladies, on national television, said, ‘We’re not going to kill anyone because our husbands have been killed. In fact, we forgive you.”
One of the women even quoted Jesus’ words from the cross.
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34
The widows’ statements were carried across the country. A Muslim journalist who covered the story wrote that the women’s offering of forgiveness did more for Christianity in Turkey than a thousand missionaries could have done in a thousand years.
Todd asked both women how they were able to forgive the men who took their husbands. One of them had a compelling answer that we can learn from today.
“I never had a moment of anger. Instantly God gave me love. God gave me the ability to forgive.”
God calls us to love Him more than our own lives and possessions. How can we learn from these two women? When you’re in a time of trial, remember that others are watching your witness. What can you tell them about Christ?
“We have an opportunity to demonstrate how faith in Christ separates us from those who don’t have faith.”
Suffering gives us a massive microphone to say to others,
“This is how faith affects me. This is the hope of eternity that I have, that maybe you don’t have. That’s why I’m able to respond this way.”
Featured Songs: Jesus, We Love You by Bethel Music; God and God Alone by Chris Tomlin; We Must Not by Selah