I have written before of the severe persecution of Christians in North Korea and other nations that are closed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, that trend continues unabated as nearly every day a new story surfaces detailing the imprisonment, torture, and killing of believers.
When U.S. citizen Kim Hak Song was arrested in North Korea on May 6, 2017, he was told that his crime was the hostile act of prayer. Officials there had records of an email he had sent to his church asking them to pray for the people of North Korea, and they also knew that he had led morning prayers for a worship group.
Amazingly, after just a year in prison, Kim Hak Song was released from prison a few weeks ago in a “goodwill” gesture prior to the upcoming meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
While this news was received with gladness, there are still an estimated 50,000 Christians imprisoned in North Korea’s brutal prison system. Their “crimes” of being faithful to Jesus Christ have earned them unimaginable treatment including starvation, torture, forced abortion, and separation from their families.
For reasons I fail to understand, Christians here in the West remain willingly ignorant of the plight of their brothers and sisters in North Korea and other countries. It is almost like a game is being played out where if it doesn’t impact me, it’s not my problem.
What we fail to realize however is that this does impact us. Whether we like it or not, we are all one body, united in the Spirit. Christians suffering in remote prisons are no less a part of the Body of Christ than you or I.
You see, in the Kingdom of God we are all seen as equals, for the ground is level at Calvary.
While we here in the West argue over carpet colors, styles of music, the brand of coffee being served in the church cafe, pews or theater seats, or a hundred other insignificant items, thousands of our fellow believers are wondering if today will be their last day on this earth.
If you remain unconvinced as to our responsibility to care for those such as Kim Hak Song and the hundreds of thousands worldwide who are currently suffering for the cause of Christ, I offer these words of Jesus:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the,holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:31-40
I am not suggesting that anyone fly to North Korea to try and win the release of Christian prisoners. That would be incredibly foolish and you would no doubt find yourself in the same situation as thousands of others there.
What I am suggesting however is that you take just a few moments each day to pray for those I consider to be our generation’s true heroes of the faith.
They would willingly do the same for you and I, even at the risk of imprisonment.
Hostile Acts of Prayer? The only thing remotely hostile would be our continued indifference to the plight of those now suffering for Christ.
Be blessed in Jesus name,
For a detailed account of the scope and magnitude of Christian persecution in the world today, I invite you to go to https://www.opendoorsusa.org/ where you will find an amazing amount of information related to this matter.