James A. Washington

Just how hard is it to be a card-carrying Christian these days? We’ve got card -carrying Democrats and Republicans. You can get a membership card for every organization from the NAACP to the ACLU. The more I study, the more I’m moved to realize that being a professed card-carrying Christian, man or woman of faith,  is, as I’ve said countless times, tantamount to putting a bull’s eye on your back and inviting an artillery barrage on your location.

Scripture tells us that accepting Jesus Christ as a way of life is never an easy task. Being crucified, thrown to the lions for fun and games, beheaded or ostracized were all very real possibilities for those who believed and then lived according to the word of God. Is today so different? Once you commit your life to Christ, isn’t it interesting the kind of attention you attract?

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9.

Looking around the world today, religious persecution is still the number one cause of war and man’s inhumanity to man. CNN will attest to the fact that people all over the planet are being systematically annihilated for the so-called God they worship. We sometimes take for granted the religious freedom we have in this country, and I believe it has lulled us into a sense that being a Christian is easy. Well, it’s not and never has been. It’s empowering. It’s enlightening. It’s eternal. But it is not easy.

The good news is we are not alone and never have been. Living for God is a reality of human existence. Christians believe in life after physical death. We have some insight into what to expect. Faith lets us know the difference between the physical and the eternal. Is it a wonder, then, that belief in a deity who demands love and appreciates mercy causes an adverse reaction from those who believe otherwise? Isn’t it a wonder that those who love Christ invite the wrath of Lucifer in all his forms?

That target on your back should be worn like a red badge of courage, because courage is what it’s going to take to withstand the ridicule of the world and the scorn of those who would tempt the weaknesses of your passions and addictions, let alone threaten your very life. I continue to be moved by the acts of faith contained in the Bible and those we see every day, where a simple declaration that Christ is the Son of God is an invitation to certain and immediate harm and even death. Let me at least acknowledge that there is a target on my back and thereby tell the world I’m easy to find.

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