Would You Deny Him?
One of the most tragic and memorable events from the year 1999 is the shooting at Columbine High School. Students, armed with guns, entered the school and opened fire on teachers and students alike. One of the most popular stories to emerge from this tragedy was one of a young girl who was killed during the shooting. One of the shooters asked her if she was a Christian, and when the girl replied "Yes," he shot and killed her. It does not take long for us to respect the bravery of this girl, but would you have done the same thing?
Being a Christian in the early centuries was also dangerous. Imagine what it would be like to know that, if a Roman soldier came into you home and found any trace of Christianity, you would be killed. Imagine also what it would be like to know that you could be killed simply for praying to God. Again, we routinely admire the courage of those who died for the truth, but do we really understand it?
Persecution is something Christians have been taught to expect. Jesus said, "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake" (Mark 13:9). We all go through some form of persecution, and hopefully we will never have to lose our lives because of it, but we should still be willing to do so. Since we have been taught to expect persecution, we like to think that we would make that same brave stand and die for Christ as so many have done before us.
It is ironic that there are so many people who claim to be Christians and that God is more important than their lives, yet they willfully violate His commandments. They like the idea of being a Christian and know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), but if work interferes with worship, they feel they can’t go to services. I wonder what would happen if they tried to explain their busy work schedule to someone who died for being a Christian. Imagine how you would feel telling someone who had been martyred how hard it is to fit God into your schedule. How could someone die for something they don’t have time for?
For most of us, we will never have to make the decision that the young girl from Columbine made, but we do need to examine ourselves and make sure we know what our answer would be if we did. We need to make sure our claims are always confirmed by the way we live. We need to fully understand the Word of God and our gift of salvation so that when someone asks if we are willing to die for it, we can confidently say, "Yes."