THE REPORT OF THE PERSECUTED CHURCH:
“There are numerous reasons why Christians are persecuted. In some countries, severe abuse of Christians takes place under authoritarian governments, where these governments seek to control all religious thought and expression as part of a comprehensive plan to control all aspects of political and civic life. In countries like Nigeria which is #10 on the Extreme Persecution World Watch List, more than 98 percent of the population is Islamic; hostility comes more from society than from the government. Historically, Islamic associations have emerged, which aim to restrict the freedom of 'deviant Muslims' and minority religious groups like Christians”
Although Boko Haram is most often associated with persecution of Christians in northern Nigerian, the pattern of persecution is much more complex than only killing or wounding Christians – as well as moderate Muslims – by an Islamic terrorist group. This is especially so in the 12 northern Sharia states where local government and social groups leave hardly any space for Christians to live their own lives. The current situation in Nigeria casts dark clouds ahead with the declaration of a caliphate in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds of girls, boys and women. Also, the attacks have left thousands homeless (Open Door, 2015).
Romans 12:9 AMP
"[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good".
"And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him ".
QUESTIONS FOR DEEPER REFLECTION:
1. How do I treat others who do not conform to what I think is right?
2. Are we moved by compassion even when others are a long way off from where they need to be?
ASK GOD: Ask God to search your motives in ministry. Ask God if you seek to control others thoughts and expressions of ‘your God’ and become disappointed when they do not conform? Ask God to show you ways to love others “Unconditionally”.
God, I pray you would fill me with Your unfailing and unconditional love; that Your Spirit of Love that dwells in me will overflow to others even if they are a long way from where the need to be. Only Your love can help me to see what is good in others, and hold fast to that which is good in them. You died for each of us while we were yet sinners, help us to love othersthe way You have loved us. I pray for the people of Nigeria, and that the 200 girls of Chibok and the many others kidnapped by Boko Haram will be returned to their homes immediately.
I ask you, God, for the displaced Christians in Northeastern Nigeria to be reunited with their families and to receive the help needed. That the open doors ministry would be freed to assist and counsel them. I pray for all those who have been affected by the violence and trauma of Boko Haram would rest secure in God. I ask for Boko Haram to have softened hearts and the scales of deception would fall from their eyes and see and come to know the only true God, In Jesus Name, Amen.