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The Preacher with the Machine Gun

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Published on: February 18, 2015

Perspective changes everything. At nighttime, I used to read my kids a newsletter I would receive in the mail about persecuted Christians across the world.  There would be stories of men and women who were brutally beaten, children who had their limbs savagely cut off who are now maimed for life, and even stories about those who were killed by bombs on their own church grounds.  

There was one particular story of a pastor who was brutally beaten and killed because he was a Christian and how after all this took place, his wife drug his dead body underneath a tree and began preaching to the people.  There was another story of a little girl who was almost starved to death by her own father because she had become a Christian.  The only way she survived is because her brother would secretly place bananas under the door of the room where she was kept as a prisoner and that barely kept her alive.  

These are true stories of real men, women, and children across the world, who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Now, compare that with the modern-day “churchgoer/Christian” in America.  The problems that most professed “Christians” have in America, are quite different than those of true Christians in other nations across the world.  

Let us weigh the problems that the American “Christian” faces vs. the Persecuted Christian around the world, where serving Christ is literally a matter of life and death, and see which one is found wanting.

  • The American Christian Problem: “I have nothing to wear to church today.”
  • Persecuted Christian Problem: “Will I be killed in Church today?”
  • American Christian Problem: “There’s never anything good to eat at our church pot blessing dinners.”
  • Persecuted Christian Problem: “I don’t know if we’ll be able to feed our children this week because of the raids on our village last night.”
  • American Christian Problem: “My feelings were hurt because the girls at school laughed at me because I attend a Bible study.”
  • Persecuted Christian Problem: “I can’t feel my legs because I was brutally beaten on my way to attend an underground secret Bible study.”

Are you beginning to get the picture? How ungrateful are we in America?  How little we know of the deepest sacrifices those around the world make just because they are Christians – true followers of Christ.  For the most part, the American professed Christian cannot take a little heat when it comes to standing for the truth. They get upset because someone calls them a bad name or a “hater” or a “bigot” for standing for righteousness sake and being obedient to the Word of God. However, other Christians around the world are not simply called names, but beaten, stabbed, scorned, imprisoned, maimed, bombed or otherwise brutally killed or mistreated for their faith (2 Timothy 3:12).

How can the average American “Christian” claim to serve Christ, when most of them would fall away at the drop of a hat when the going gets a little tough? Is this the fruit of a true Christian (Matthew 7:16)? What do we know of the fates of other Christians around the world? What we “suffer” in America for Christ’s sake is a joke compared to the suffering they have had to undergo: Leaving all, abandoning home, possessions, husbands, wives or other family members for their faith in Christ.

God must look upon us in America as whiners and complainers without an inkling of an idea of what Paul, the disciples, John the Baptist, Elijah or any of His faithful followers went through(Matthew 5:10). You see, your perspective makes all the difference in the world. For example, your cupboards could be filled with food right now, food that has been there for a year and you never gave it a second thought. However, go ahead and start a fast for even one or two days and that old can of tomato soup or beans you didn’t care about before never looked so good in all your life! See how your circumstances can quickly change who you are and your perspective on life?

Here is another example. I recently watched a movie of a real life story of a man who was a rebel against God and His Law, but then became a Christian.  Someone came to his church and told the congregation about the work that this missionary was doing in Africa, so the man, who was recently converted, decide to go over to Africa and see what he could do to help. This once lost sinner came to Africa during the time of a bloody, brutal, and horrifying Civil War.  

He witnessed children being bereaved from their parents, mass amounts of children being burned alive, little boys forced to join the rebels and shoot people against their own will (Kill or be killed) and this struck him straight to the core. His heart went out to these children, so he built an orphanage for all the over 200 children whose parents were killed. This man also began to fight this evil regime and its leader in the territory they controlled and became known as the “Machine Gun Preacher.”

This preacher split his time between defending these orphan children in Africa and his wife and daughter back home.  One day, when he was back home in the states, his daughter wanted to get a limousine for her “formal gathering” at her school.  All this man could think about was how a world away he was trying to figure out a way to feed and protect these starving orphan kids who were being brutally killed and here in the states, all his daughter wanted to do was waste money on some vehicle because she was worried about her dress getting wrinkled on her way to the prom!  Because of his perspective, this infuriated him. To him, his daughter’s thinking was a wasteful and frivolous display of spending money on something that didn’t matter (Her wrinkled dress or despair of these little ones).

What matters to you? Is it your new dress you’re going to wear to church on Sunday or is it actually your servitude towards Christ? Are you a fly by night professed Christian who would leave Christ as the littlest breeze of opposition? Are you truly standing for your faith the way other Christians half way across the world are, who literally give up all for Jesus’s sake? What’s your perspective in life? Let’s hope it is not the same as when you first began reading this article. Remember, perspective changes everything.

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