“Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”
by Lori Heine
In our world today, many of our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters are being persecuted. There are lands in which they are being betrayed, imprisoned, tortured and murdered. This is happening in the names of a variety of gods. Worst of all, it is happening in the Name of our God. Many people actually labor under the delusion that “He” expects it.
But the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ does not destroy people because of any lack of zeal in punishing “sin.” This God is not a violent and fanatical despot. People who claim to worship the Christian God and believe in the Gospel need to be challenged – for our sake and for their own – to figure out which God they really serve.
Many of those in high places are afraid to do this. Either they don’t believe in the Christian God themselves, or else they are afraid to be politically incorrect. They don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. What they seem not to notice is that there are people suffering from far worse fates that ruffled feathers.
That’s why we who are Christians must stand up. If they won’t listen to us because we’re “queers,” they may listen to our families and friends. If we are blessed with straight allies in the Church who will listen to us, we must press them to speak out on behalf of the God revealed in Jesus Christ. Far greater than their obligation to us is their duty to Him.
They don’t need to plead specifically for us. That may be futile with those whose hearts are hardened against us. But surely they can speak up for Jesus. It is the faith He revealed to us that is being betrayed. In betraying that faith, our oppressors are betraying Jesus Himself. And even if they absolutely cannot be convinced to care about us, surely they must care about the One they profess and Lord and Savior.
There are those who will blow up buildings, crash planes and murder hundreds for the god in whom they believe. But those who persecute us in the Name of Christ claim to know better. They may be less willing to harm those they think are innocent, but their brutality to us belies their profession of faith in Christ. It muddies and bloodies their witness. It is unworthy of the Master they have committed themselves to obey.
This is defamation of Christ’s character. Surely our allies understand that. If they care about the witness Christians give their Lord, then they must act. Since they will heed our words, we must tell them. There is no time for shyness or caution when in some countries, people are literally losing their lives.
As the old hymn admonishes us, we must “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” And we must do it today. Tomorrow may, for many, be too late.
© 2011 Lori Heine
Photo: Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, executed July 19, 2005 in Iran for homosexual acts.
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