Happy to be Hated

Today is Good Friday.

Christians today around the world remember the scourging, suffering, crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, it is the day we murdered God, the day He let us kill Him.

There are many things we can discuss about this: why did God let us kill Him? how can God die? why would we do such a thing? etc…

But right now, I want to share why I think we call this infamous Friday good.

Doesn’t it seem ironic that we call this day good? It’s like calling September 11th Good Tuesday. Doesn’t it seem absurd? And doesn’t it seem even more absurd to be happy about it?

What do I mean? I mean it is a great thing, a happy thing to be hated by haters. It is a good thing to be hated by what I dub:

AntiCatholicKlub

Yes, this exists. Members of the Official Anti-Catholic Klub [OACK] include the KKK, the Nazis, and Communist Parties. There are other members too, like radical Islam, Satanic cults, militant atheists, and even some misguided Protestant denominations. All these groups are very different from one another, but they share one thing in common: they hate the Catholic Church.CatholicHaters

Why do they hate the Church? Because they want power they don’t have. They want power they can never have. They want to have a leader who leads forever. They want a leader who can create universes from scratch. They want a leader who is not only invulnerable and incorruptible, but immortal and invincible too. A leader who — even if he somehow gets killed — can resurrect Himself!

And we have that one-and-only leader in the Lord Jesus. So on this Friday twenty centuries ago, when hatred, death and sinners (you and me) cut down our Christ, we Christians call it a good day — because this day means we’re on the right side. We’re on the winning team.

We’re supposed to be hated by evil-doers. We’re supposed to be hated by the prideful, the envious, the wrathful. Because if they like us, if they call us friend… that means we’re not threatening to them, that means we are just one of them — part of their klub.

So don’t be afraid of being hated by the haters. It’s a good thing. But notice that if you hate them in return, you just joined their team…

So do what Jesus does.

Start today.

P.S. If you’ve never watched the Passion of the Christ, give it a look!

The Forbidden Christian

Last week we saw Yuna Kim’s Catholic faith fearless on the world stage.

This week, a research organization has once again named North Korea as “the worst country in the world for Christians.”

If you didn’t know the drama: North Korea and South Korea (where Miss Kim calls home) share the same border. They are one country divided by bombs and barbed wire. They are now neighbors, each with soldiers staring down the other side, fingers on their triggers — just waiting. It’s been this way since the end of the Korean conflict in the 1950s. And the South’s capital — Seoul — is only 120 miles from the North’s: Pyongyang. That’s right, those two cities are closer together than Detroit is to Chicago.

Many of us know that North Korea is probably the worst country in the world for anyone, but the paradox here is jarring. Let me help you see it: Christians are forbidden on the north side, and on the south side are Christians free and flourishing. North: Christians are hunted and sent to prison camps. South: Christians are winning Olympic gold medals. And South Korea is home to probably the fastest growing Catholic community in the world.

Zooming out, here’s the big picture:

The map details the 50 nations openly hostile to faithful Christians (I say faithful because a Christian in-name-only is no Christian at all, and I say openly hostile because there are plenty of regimes and nations that persecute us indirectly and in secret.). From my own ethnic background, I see Vietnam at #18, and China at #37. You can click on the map to download the full report, or here to see country by country profiles of persecution.

So please, remember that “often completely unaddressed in the West is the fact that Christians are the largest persecuted minority in the world.” We — faithful Christians — always have been the most persecuted, and always will be. Why? And why so many?

Why? Because Jesus is offensive. He tells us we must become perfect. He tells us we must sacrifice. He tells us we must not lust. He tells us we must carry a cross just like He did. In a world that says individualism and license-to-do-anything-without-consequence is supreme, He tells us we must be less us and more Him. And He tells us that this world is not our home, that we are made for better, and the world is insulted by that. The world does not want us to be better than it. It wants us to worship it, to die with it, sleep with it and rot with it.

And why so many? Because committed Christians are among the most convinced of their Faith. Nobody dies for what they know is a lie, or for a hobby, or a social club, or a free time fellowship. But if what they believe is True… and if they are convinced, convinced absolutely by reason and faith that Jesus rose from the dead, if so! then there is no force in the universe that can sway them to admit that the Truth is a hoax. They would die and disown the world rather than lie and disown Christ.

And those Christians among us who refuse the world?

What else should we expect from the world that even dared to butcher God Himself?

So the persecution will continue, and probably worsen. And that’s when the courageous and faithful Christians rise. And some have already rose. They live and died in those hostile and forbidden nations. They are more renown in Heaven than we are. They are the saints and martyrs.

May those saints pray for us Christians who are too busy being comfortable to seek greatness.

Made for Greatness

P.S. It is in honor of these persecuted Christians that I named my publishing entity Banned Books Press. And the most banned book of all: the Holy Bible.