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Martyrs-Or-Cowards

Are there only either martyrs-or-cowards, or is there something in-between? Would you be prepared to die for your faith, no matter what price you may have to pay? 



Credit Google Images

Can Forced Recanting Change Your Private Convictions?  

This question needs to be examined. One’s fundamental beliefs form part of the foundational building blocks that determine your paradigms.

If your religious allegiance is more than just a superficial cultural appendage, then this is so fundamental that it cannot easily be mentally discarded. No matter what you are forced to do publicly.

The result is internal conflict, anguish and guilt because you fear what the consequences will be in the afterlife. Are these poor souls to be regarded either as martyrs or cowards?



Living With Guiltmartyrs-or-cowards

 Guilty!

Credit: Google Images

How does anyone who has been forced to publicly recant their faith, for whatever reason, manage to live with the burden of guilt they will have to carry for the rest of their lives?

In attempting to determine whether recanters are either martyrs-or-cowards, I have Googled many articles on the subject of “living with guilt”. Most approach the subject on an intellectual level. In other words, from either a psychological, philosophical, or pastoral angle.

One comment even goes so far as to advocate switching to Buddhism because Buddhists do not have a concept of sin and guilt, only of transcendence.

This however, is all fine for people living in a society where tolerance and religious freedom prevails and it is only a matter of debate.

The point that is often missed, and which is the subject of this article, is that this advice is of no help whatsoever to those poor souls living in societies where they are forced to live under extreme intolerance. Where any vestige of adherence to their faith will mean certain torture and even death.

Are those believers that have been forced to recant then to be judged as either martyrs-or-cowards?



Ethnic Cleansing Of Christians: martyrs-or-cowards

Credit: Google Images

Would you really be prepared to die for your faith, no matter what price you may have to pay? 

Could you honestly, with genuine, deep conviction and commitment, reply “Yes” to this question? 

If you answer "yes" then we, with the deepest respect, must laud and salute you!

Especially if you would honestly be prepared to consciously choose to be killed as a martyr – no matter how brutally – rather than renounce your faith.

I pray, however, that God, in His grace, will save you from ever having to be tested in this regard. If it should transpire though, may He then grant you the necessary strength to persevere and that the suffering you may have to endure will mercifully be short-lived.

Nevertheless, my heart goes out to the many among us who may prove to not be so strong. Are those who, through fear, choose the easier option of  publicly recanting their faith in exchange for survival, to be judged as either martyrs-or-cowards? Or is the inner torture of guilt they will have to live with also a form of Martyrdom?



Credit: Google Images

How Must We Define martyrs-or-cowards?

How do we assess whether people are either martyrs-or-cowards? Isn't it possible that those who are forced to live with their guilt are in fact also real martyrs?

If we consider the mental and spiritual anguish, as well as the terrible self-recrimination that these poor souls will be forced to live with for the rest of their lives, then we cannot help but feel empathy and sympathy for them!

We must remember that they are in good company. Every one of the apostles was just as guilty, fleeing into the night to avoid arrest and deserting Jesus in His most dire time of need.

Even Peter, who had sworn that he would give his life for Jesus (though he did in fact attempt to physically defend him with the use of a sword) also ended up running away.

Granted, Peter then did attempt to mingle with the crowd, hoping by following at a distance, to secretly be able to observe the unfolding tragedy of Jesus’ trial.

The Gospels relate, however, how on three separate occasions, he vehemently denied having any relationship with Jesus. He even swore an oath to this effect. Then a rooster crowed! 

The Gospel of Luke relates it most poignantly:

Luke 22:61-62 NLT.   

“At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly , the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard weeping bitterly.”    

That look.......! What did it convey?

Coming from the Jesus we know, we can be certain that it would not have held any recrimination - only love, empathy, compassion and, possibly, even trust!

  This same Jesus would before long pray for those who were nailing Him to a cross: “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”   Luke 23:34 NLT. 

No wonder Peter left the courtyard weeping bitterly!  We can only guess at the self-recrimination, regret, and hopelessness he must have been experiencing.

He must have felt a complete failure, beyond redemption! But, when he looked into the eyes of Jesus, he saw and experienced only Grace!

Can it not be accepted that this will be the same look with which Jesus looks upon those of his children, who through fear, are forced to hide their faith and pay the price of having to live with the same guilty consequences?   

On the question of whether they are martyrs-or-cowards, surely we should also find the empathy to accept them as martyrs and leave the judgment to Jesus?


The ISIS Onslaught In Iraq And Syria

Credit: Google Images

Witness What Has Happened In Iraq And Syria.

This radical Islamic movement spread with lightning efficiency across Syria, Iraq and into Lebanon, leaving all hell in its wake!

Pockets of Islamic State sympathizers have emerged with black flags flying even in Germany, Great Britain and Australia. Their aim? Nothing less than to establish an Islamic Caliphate, to operate global society through draconian Sharia law and eradicate pesky infidels.

They've blown up shrines (most notably, the tomb of the Biblical Jonah), defaced churches and ransacked monasteries.

Shiites, “apostate” Sunnis have also been targeted. Iraqi Christians, Kurds and other religious minorities (e.g., Yezidi) have been labeled, robbed, raped and/or executed.

The Scourge That Must Be Stopped!

Credit: Google Images

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