But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. -Luke 12:9 (NIV)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. -Romans 1:16 (NIV)
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? -1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV)
Would you speak up for Christ if you had a gun to your head, knowing you’d be killed for your beliefs?
On Thursday, October 1, 2015, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, Chris Harper-Mercer shot and killed nine people there. He was a student at the college. After exchanging fire with law enforcement, he killed himself.
According to one witness to the crimes, the shooter asked the religion of his victims, and if they answered “Christian,” he would tell them that because because they identified themselves as such, they were “going to meet God in about one second,” and then killed them.
The bottom line is: do you choose yourself, or God?
In response to this information, many around the world have shared the hashtag #YesImAChristian to show their solidarity for those who did not back down when threatened with death.
Hashtags and social media messages are nice and all to potentially raise awareness, but our deepest loyalties and convictions are revealed in our actions…especially when faced with dire consequences.
For centuries, Christians around the world have faced persecution and even death for their beliefs. This shooting on U.S. soil is atypical for the country, but not elsewhere in the world.
It’s easy to praise God among our own, or when times are good. But the real test is at the fork in the road where true believers and nonbelievers part ways: death of the physical body.
For true believers, death has lost its sting, because our lives are not so empty that we think we will lose everything when we die. As pilgrims through this world, we are assured entry into God’s kingdom, where our everlasting life begins. Even upon threat of death–and death itself–we are to make God known.
The killer may have thought that he was ridding the world of some followers of Christ, but he instead likely brought more people to Christ, who see us standing up every day, worldwide. In these dark times, it’s our turn to not cower or be ashamed, but to carry and reflect God’s light brightly, and plunge deep into the darkness.
Chris August’s “Unashamed Of You” tells God that we want to make Him known with reckless abandon.