Maybe you still live in the tension between self-preservation and escapism. Isn’t that everyone’s temptation? 

We try so hard not to lose our life; but then we also try to run from the life we have. This talk of leaning into Jesus may sound foolish unless of course it happens to be true.

If you feel embarrassed to identify in public as a Christian, you are not alone. One of my great public school fears was being discovered as a preacher’s kid and a believer in Jesus. I did not want to be looked down upon because of the ways that I was separate from my classmates. Sometimes, we have childish fears.

If you feel embarrassed to identify in public as a Christian, you are not alone. Bad behaviour abounds and people of faith are endlessly vilified in the news, movies and in comedy. There is no shortage of humiliating put-downs in popular culture.

I was once afraid of well-studied opponents of the Christian faith, because I did not know how to respond to their criticism and negation of belief. That doesn’t worry me now, though. It makes a world of difference when you learn to trust in something more than human reasoning.

It’s a bit like falling in love… As a child I was also embarrassed to admit my attraction to a girl and to be publicly known as her boyfriend. I overcame the fear of being ridiculed and teased. I learned to love and marry a woman. Tease me all you want, now. I know the truth about love and that outweighs anyone’s negative view of marriage.

Let’s go back to my childhood fear of being put down for belief in Jesus and belonging to the Church. Was it just childish fear, or was there something very real and tangible that taught me to be intimidated? Was there a spirit of the age that was at war with me even as a child?

In the last couple months, we have heard reports about the Toronto pastor Hyeon Soo Lim[1] being sentenced to hard labour in a North Korean prison for crimes against the state.

This pastor in his 60’s has been doing relief work among the poor and is being persecuted for supporting a nursing home, feeding people and helping orphans. He has made more than 100 trips to North Korea since 1997 and apparently North Korea considers people like that to be enemies of the state.

Do your homework and you will discover that Christians have been persecuted, maligned, tortured, imprisoned and punished from the beginning. Why do you suppose that is? What is about Jesus that invites persecution? What is it that causes the Caesars of the world to react so strongly?