Persecution. Chapter 8 opens with the persecution of the Christians after the death of Stephen. Religious persecution is not something that I can really identify with. I am sitting in the comfort of a western society that has laws that protect my religious freedom. Real persecution that endangers my life is not something I am familiar with in my real life.
If I think about countries where persecution really happens and peoples lives are in danger it makes me sad. I also wonder what can I do to help those who are not free as we are in our society. However I digress. I do not know about physical, real persecution however I realise that I do know about something that happens in western culture, the belittling of my beliefs in popular society.
In recent years it has become very trendy to say that you are 'spiritual' but if you say Christian there is look that comes over peoples faces as if you are a Loony Toon (and not the good kind.) I don't know about anyone else but I have noticed that there is a respect for everything but Christianity. It is almost as if we have become the worst of religions overnight and the focus of much hate.
The time it seems has come when saying your a Christian provides a number of challenges. I heard it once said that if you believe in Christ then you are not mentally capable, not intelligent and down right gullible. The person also said that if you pass this onto your children you are brainwashing them. To me it is unbelievable that in 21st century that is so enlightened people are so closed minded about a creator God. However I digress again. The point of what I am saying is that we have a lot to learn from those early believers:
"But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went." Acts 8:4
In my situation where it is frowned upon to be a Christian I need to let that go and be the example God wants me to be. I need not avoid saying anything about faith but say it boldly despite what others may think. Recently I was speaking to a new acquaintance and when they asked me what I had done that morning I hesitated before saying I went to church. After I berated myself but at the time my head weighed up the pros and cons of making that statement. While reading this chapter I felt not only silly but rather small that I worried more about someones opinion of me than Gods opinion of me. I guess it's time to change the way I think.