Martyr’s Eyes

Like you, I have heard a lot about the persecution of the church lately. Let me be very clear here: I do not like it.

There is a pain in my gut that breaks me to the core every time I see or hear about an image of death by hate. I mourn for these families and fear for my own. I wish that it would never happen.

I have to consider Psalm 116:15.

Blessed in the sight of The Lord is the death of His holy ones.

Why?

A man of God does not see the world the same way that the world sees the world.

Prison is not the end of freedom but the beginning of salvation. (ask Joseph)
Humility is not the end of rule but the beginning of leadership. (ask David)
Persecution is not the end of ministry but the beginning of mission. (ask Stephen)
Torture is not the end of joy but the beginning of singing. (ask Paul and Silas)
and,
Death is not the end of life but the beginning of resurrection. (ask any martyr, or just ask Jesus)

If I am being honest, I must admit that I have “America eyes” when it comes to my view of God. I want to see salvation, leadership, mission, singing, and resurrection. Most of the time all I see is prison, humility, persecution, torture, and death.

What must I do to see the former and not the latter?

How do I see Christ?

How can I trade in my America eyes for martyr’s eyes?

Oh, I think we all know the price of martyr’s eyes! Can I pay that price? Would I pay that price? Jesus already paid that price for me. How do I relate to Christ if I am unwilling to pay the price He paid? Do I take up my cross or do I keep my eyes?

Great Lord Jesus, let me see You and what You see.

Maybe they are human like me

The other day I was buying a homeless friend some breakfast. While we were waiting at the counter I was making small talk and I said, “So, Mike, what does your day look like?”

I immediately regretted the question.

Mike lives in the woods. What if I just made him feel bad? Obviously he did not have anything on his “agenda” for the day. What could his calendar look like: wake up in the morning and not have food… then, not clean the not house… don’t forget to not pick up anything from the store…

Mike’s answer surprised me. He had a full day planned. Doctor, tests, look into a job, see some friends, take care of a buddy’s dog. He filled our small talk quota with details about his day.

It was then that I realized what a small-minded, arrogant jerk I really am.

I assumed Mike was fully employed at being homeless.
I assumed he was less of a person because he did not have a key ring.
I assumed he was helpless because he was unbathed.
I assumed he was foolish because he had not made the exact same choices that I had made. (many of which I now look at as foolish)

Instead, Mike had more to do today than he could get done.
Oh wait, maybe that was me that had too much to do.
Maybe that was why I had never asked a homeless friend what his day looked like.
Maybe I should take more time out to do that.

Maybe they are human like me.

Jesus, grant me the integrity to see people as people and not as status. Humble me enough to remember that I am not at the top of the food chain, but that You are.
And, please give me ears to hear the people that I don’t value, maybe nobody values, as treasured friends.