I have been more obsessed with Harry Potter this week than someone who has actually read the books or seen the movies. I have been completely fascinated by how something as inherently nerdy as Harry Potter, has completely lost its negative stigma. When I was younger and spoke about wizards and magic spells, I was labeled a nerd. But because of Harry Potter’s mass appeal, there is no fear of persecution or retribution for embracing its wizarding world.
Harry Potter has become a lot like Christianity in the United States.
In Honduras, three of my teammates and I were given a passage to reflect upon and then share with the rest of the team. Our passage was Luke 6:22-23, which says:
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
Our group had a difficult time reflecting on how we had seen that verse in action during our trip. Honduras is very accepting of Christianity. Even the police appreciate church groups because they know churches are trying to help the country.
The United States is also very accepting of Christianity. Because of Christianity’s mass appeal in the U.S. there is no fear of persecution or retribution for embracing Jesus Christ. Most Christians in the U.S. can’t understand a concept like persecution or rejection. I have been a Christian my entire life and have never once felt endangered or even ridiculed because of my faith.
For those of us who don’t live in fear of persecution or retribution for our faith, we should be very grateful. We should constantly thank God that we live in a place where we can practice our faith freely. It is a luxury that many Christians all over the world don’t have and one that we often take for granted.
We should also ensure that we aren’t growing too comfortable or too complacent. The danger in acceptance is the fear of doing anything to lose that acceptance. Harry Potter fans may not get ridiculed for dressing up or throwing Harry Potter-themed parties. But they should be careful that they don’t push the bounds of acceptance and join an actual Quidditch league.
As non-persecuted Christians it can be easy to live within the bounds of our culture’s acceptance. If we just continue to do what we’ve done and don’t rock the boat, then everyone will just accept us for who we are. We’ll be able to love Jesus without any threat of persecution, retribution or rejection.
Unfortunately Jesus sometimes calls us to rock the boat.
Sometimes Jesus calls us to be the prophetic voice to a straying culture.
Sometimes Jesus calls us to move beyond the bounds of acceptance in order to make a stand for his kingdom.
And when he does that we have to be willing to respond, even if it leads to persecution, retribution or rejection. If Jesus is calling us to make a stand for his kingdom outside the bounds of our culture’s acceptance, we have to be willing to go and play the proverbial game of Quidditch.
I love being able to worship Jesus however I see fit. But we should never allow the threat of persecution, retribution or rejection to temper that worship. We should always strive to worship Jesus with our lives, when it’s acceptable but especially when it’s unacceptable.
How have you ever experience persecution, retribution or rejection for your faith?