A number of years ago, there was a tragic school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. The world was shocked by the event, and rightly so. One of the stories to come out of it was chronicled in a memoir entitled She Said Yes. It was about a student named Cassie Bernall, written by her mother, about how Cassie became one of the students to be shot on that horrific day.
The perpetrators, fellow high school students, had asked Cassie if she was a Christian. Being a follower of Jesus, she responded that she was. And that was what caused the deranged student to pull the trigger and kill Cassie.
What would you say had you been in that situation? When the adrenaline is coursing through you, and you’re faced with a question about your faith that could cost you your life, would you say ‘yes’?
Some might lie and say ‘no’, even though it was not true, in order to preserve their lives and thereby be able to engage in Christian living for years to come. But let’s say you were under coercion to recant your faith on the threat of death. Would you?
This is mostly theory to us, but to the believers in the early church, this described daily living. In the first three centuries of the existence of the church, Christian faith was not tolerated by the Roman empire. Christ-followers were often killed because they refused to say “Caesar is Lord”, and worship their ruler. Instead, they lived by the statement of faith that declared, “Jesus is Lord.”
It cost many disciples of Jesus their lives.
I certainly hope and pray that it never comes to that in our time, though in some parts of the world, it still happens that followers of Jesus are killed for their beliefs. As biblical Christianity becomes less and less popular, it is becoming less and less tolerated in society.
Would you say ‘yes’ if confronted with the question about identifying with your Christian faith? What price would you be willing to pay?
I pray that you never are faced with the need to choose between your profession of faith and your life. But I also pray that the courage of your convictions will cause you to stand firm no matter what sort of suffering or persecution you might face.
“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5.10, NLT).