Recently, via the media, American Christians received a terrible taste of what the word “persecution” means to millions of our brothers and sisters around the world. People marching into some place you ought to be safe and ending your mortal life to express their direct objection to your faith. Of course, it also means churches meeting in secret, since it is illegal for you to gather with other believers for worship, being restricted in how you earn your living, risks of your home and business (of any sort) and church being torched because of your faith.
It is rare for people in my area of the world to face a direct choice between Christ and our lives. The most common threat we face is being threatened with losing our job/business on discrimination charges if we don’t by our deeds, if not our words, give our approval of certain sins. The world’s demands Christians actively participate in the celebration of sin, quit our jobs, or face legal or civil charges has only begun. And some of us are already terrified and ready to either cave in and compromise or go to the opposite extreme.
At its deadliest, sin becomes a core part of our identity like our ethnicity is. When that happens, we see the disapproval of the sin as a rejection of who we are and we see no difference between a business refusing to help us celebrate us and a business rejecting customers over skin color. If we’re all walking in the flesh, then the war is on. Whoever starts it, when we as Christians seek to stand for the truth that X behavior is a sin (that Christ died for) we can slip into deplorable behavior that is also a sin. When we get in trouble for said wrong, we play the “I’m persecuted” card to justify it, thus undermining our defense when we simply didn’t want to exalt sin.
For a theoretical example of deplorable behavior: an adoptive father gets his five-year-old son enrolled at a Bible-based private school or an activity like scouting. Little Johnny is welcome there until the Christian administrators realize he’s been adopted by two dads with a state marriage license. Then the Christian leaders perceive a threat, a wedge intended to silence their message and pressure them to teach the kids that Johnny’s parents’ sin is okay. So they kick the child out. He is hurt and confused that Christians he’d come to trust are suddenly angry at him and at his family and not letting him go play with his friends and learn about Jesus and other cool stuff.
Before you say this would never happen, consider that the only Biblical alternative is letting Little Johnny stay, look into his young eyes, and continue to teach Biblical values despite those values not being practiced at his home, to patiently, gently, kindly give age-appropriate answers to Little Johnny’s honest questions. Some defenders of Biblical values may well seek to justify the path of least resistance as the best path to defend Biblical values on.
Once, the twelve disciples thought the best path for furthering Christ’s mission was to turn away pesky, intrusive, insignificant children whose parents had brought them to be blessed. Matthew 19:14 tells us, “But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
He didn’t say, “but only let the little children of heterosexual, legitimately married, morally upright religious parents,” but since the children he was immediately addressing probably were, let me also remind you Ezekiel 18:20 says in part, “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
Whatever circumstances a child was born in, or lives in, please don’t bar that child from coming to Christ. Don’t turn that innocent baby away, no matter how much more challenging his home situation may make things for you, no matter what ulterior motives his parents may have. It is better to suffer for having done right than to suffer for the wrong of rejecting a little child. (See 1 Peter 2:20, Matthew 18:6.)