“If I killed you, I’d go straight to heaven. I just don’t think I could get away with it.”
This is what one Kurdish believer’s own brother said to him recently. He is often beat when other Kurds realize he has been fellowshipping with believers. Sometimes his family shames him by making him eat his food in a room separate from them. They say he is dirty.
In another city, one believing family has their entire neighborhood against them. The neighborhood says that they have “sold their religion” and tempts and torments them daily. Sometimes they feel like running away.
Several Kurdish believers are in prison, held without charges against them for indefinite periods of time.
One believer is so fearful of persecution from his family and society, he has cut off all contact with the rest of the body of Christ and chosen to go it alone.
Satan is attempting to tear apart the Kurdish church here. There is disunity, mistrust, fighting, dissension, and much fear among Kurdish believers. They are afraid of each other, afraid of their families, afraid of the government, afraid of their friends and neighbors, and the list goes on. Their persecutions are nothing new (see Hebrews 11:37-38).
Of course, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19)
But Jesus left the example for all believers to follow. He endured much for our salvation. For some, He has called them to endure persecution for His name.
Jesus said, “Whenever a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore, you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” (John 16:21-22)
Later, He prayed for all believers. He said, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they may also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me…and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-21, 23)
We ask you to earnestly pray for these believers. Pray for their unity. Pray for their love for one another to be strengthened. Pray that they conduct themselves honorably in all things. (Hebrews 13:18) Pray that, with temptation, God will provide a way of escape so that they will be able to endure it.(1 Corinthians 10:13) And pray that our Father’s kingdom will come soon!