Stop Calling Yourself The Persecuted Church

 Open Doors World Watch Map/Open Doors

There is no more prayer in schools.

They want to take God’s name out of the national anthem.

The list of “assaults” on Christianity grows and varies from Western country to country. Every day Christians take to social media and share how life is so hard. We are under siege. Our lives are in danger of ungodly people changing things in our government. We are suffering at the hands of sinners. And the likes…

These kinds of things make their rounds on Facebook and Twitter because we are the “persecuted church“.

Only we couldn’t be more wrong. And we need to stop calling ourselves that.

Open Doors, an organization dedicated to helping the actual persecuted church, wherever they might be in the world. But it isn’t in North America.

The World Watch List was recently updated, sharing the Top 50 nations where being a Christian is the toughest. While you can find the full list here, read over the Top 20 as shared by BibleGateway Blog.

Top 20 Countries Persecuting Christians

  1. North Korea
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Somalia
  4. Libya
  5. Pakistan
  6. Sudan
  7. Eritrea
  8. Yemen
  9. Iran
  10. India
  11. Syria
  12. Nigeria
  13. Iraq
  14. Maldives
  15. Saudi Arabia
  16. Egypt
  17. Uzbekistan
  18. Myanmar (Burma)
  19. Laos
  20. Vietnam

The only “Western” country to make the Top 50 list is Mexico, coming in at 39.

Think about that.

These Christians suffer from Communist or Post-communist oppression, Dictatorial Paranoia, Ethnic Antagonism, Islamic Oppression, and/or Religious Nationalism.

They are regularly attacked, routinely harassed, habitually disturbed and made the public pariah of their respective nations. Their government makes examples of them, create laws with which to demoralize and cripple their lives. Freedoms and rights are removed or none existent.

Christians have no voice, no power, no representation, no ability to advocate for change in these nations. None of which are Western countries.

More than 245 million Christians live with high, very high, or extreme persecution on a regular basis. If not daily. That number is up from 2018. It was 215 million last year.

David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA said this,

“Islamic radicalism continues to dominate and influence all spheres of life for Christians, and we are watching China and India very closely. The distressing impact of billions of people living in an environment in which the government oppresses freedom of religion is unravelling day by day as millions of Christians are being attacked, imprisoned or killed. Open Doors will continue to walk alongside these Christians and advocate on their behalf for human rights we take for granted in America.”

That is the persecuted church. Those are the people that are suffering in the name of Jesus.

Having someone disagree with us on Facebook is not persecution. Having a government make changes to their laws to no favour a single religion is not what people in North Korea are suffering. Someone mocking your faith in a cartoon or a meme is not what is happening in Afghanistan.

They are being murdered. They are being imprisoned.

I’m not saying that our lives are easy or that the way we are treated is right, but what Western Christians deal with is not persecution like the rest of the world deals with.

Let’s remember what our brothers and sisters are going through, remember what our forefathers endured as well.

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

– Hebrews 13:3

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

– 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

This article first appeared on Christian Thought Sandbox.