I was born in China in 1948 to missionary parents. My family was forced to leave China in 1950. The Lisu Chinese pastor who dedicated me to Jesus was later commanded to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. He said that he must obey God rather than men, so they cut out his tongue and said, “Now preach”. He bled to death for his faith.
Pastors, evangelists and teachers were executed or imprisoned. It became illegal to own a Bible or assemble for worship, but the number of believers in Christ grew more than 100 fold over the next 50 years. The testimony of those who are martyred for their faith only serves to strengthen and increase the victory of Jesus in the world. The recent testimonies of Coptic martyrs and their family members in Syria, were filled with expressions of forgiveness from those suffering and grieving. It is not surprising to discover that the number of Jesus followers is growing faster in the Middle East in the places of greatest persecution, than anywhere else on earth.
This is not just about non-violent resistance, which is a powerful political strategy demonstrated by the wonderful examples of Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. It is about the testimony of Jesus and His kingdom which “are not of this world” (not about human politics or government). The battle of Christ and His followers is not against evil persons (flesh and blood). The human “enemy” is not my enemy.
Jesus refused to engage Pilate by resisting the authority of Rome. The Lisu pastor was not resisting Mao or the Peoples Republic. Jesus’ battlefield is not even between religious systems (such as Islam and Christianity) but against cosmic spiritual wickedness and deception.
As for people, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing”. Here… let me put that ear back on.