Happy Easter from the International Youth Coalition (IYc)! Let us celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ after He made the choice to suffer and die because He loved us so very much. By His resurrection, He proved He was not restricted by the chains, rules, laws, or ways of this fallen world. As we celebrate, the IYc wants you to remember, that we are called to follow Christ. Regardless of what authority might say or ways they may attempt to restrict our religious freedom, there is always a choice to rise above.
Around the world, true Christians are being heavily persecuted and there are growing concerns this reality is heading to the United States; which was founded on religious freedom. These concerns stem from the push of contraceptives and abortion that lie within morally corrupt policies such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. They also lie in the aggressive push for acceptance of gay marriage that is now included in the Equal Opportunity Programs of many work places within the public and private sectors. This training places “sexual orientation” alongside race and gender as a “diversity” issue- a completely corrupt stance that lies far outside the truth of Christianity (You don’t believe me? That’s because you haven’t read the New Testament for yourself- Stop letting other people make up YOUR mind).
So when you are told by your employer that you have no choice but to agree or be quiet, the IYc wants you to consider a few of the thousands of heroic choices that have been made under the “Christian” title:
Saints Perpetua and Felicity were told they had no choice but to recant their Christian faith. They chose to stand firm in their beliefs, and gave each other the “kiss of peace” as they were devoured by wild animals.
Saint Lorenzo Ruiz of the Philippines, while on a missionary trip to Japan, was told he had no choice but to renounce his Roman Catholic faith and leave Japan. He refused, ultimately chosing imprisonment, torture, and death.
Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer could have remained away from the mass killings within Europe in the 1940s. He chose to confront evil head on and voice the Christian message, which eventually lead to his imprisonment and execution.
Saint Thomas More of England was told by his employer (King Henry VIII) that he had no choice but to accept the annulment of his first marriage and his supremacy over the Pope. More chose to be beheaded, leaving behind his wife and daughters.
After seeing what happened to Jesus Christ, Saint Peter could have remained quiet. However, he chose to spread the loving message of his Savior and was crucified for it. To show the full extent of choices someone could possibly have, while being crucified, he chose to be crucified upside down because he did not believe he was worthy to go out the same way as Christ.
Some believe, leading up to his death, a Man provided him with much needed strength and encouragement. The story goes:
“During the persecutions under Nero, Saint Peter, along with many other Christians fled from Rome. While Saint Peter was fleeing the city, he encountered a vision of Christ carrying a cross in the opposite direction. Surprised, Saint Peter asked, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Christ replied, ‘I’m heading to Rome to be crucified a second time.’ Knowing what he had to do, Saint Peter returned to Rome where he was martyred.”
Your faith will be challenged, and authority (whether the government or the private sector) will tell you there is no other choice but to keep your Christianity silent. Just because many Christians choose the path of comfort (and they will), doesn’t mean you should follow suit. Show prudence, show courage, show character, show faith; and with so much love, show the world there’s always a choice.