Am I? I would pray I am, but when it really comes down to it, I don’t know. In the face of what threat would I sacrifice my family, my comfortable life and my self-interest to die for the truth of Christ and the Gospel message? I measure my own cowardice by those Christians who live and preach with a boldness for the faith they know could one day lead to their martyrdom.
My new hero is Father Zakaria Botros, Coptic priest and Christian apologist. So threatening is his message of love and truth that Al Qaeda has offered a $60 million bounty on his head. This is the face of true fearlessness in Christ.
Christian martyrdom is an extreme act of self-denial done out of love for our enemies. How different that is from the message of hate and death preached around the world today. Martyrdom is not murder by decree; it is not car bombers and waist belts full of C-4 and ball bearings. But most of us will only live Christian martyrdom in a figurative way – dying to self, dying to our sinful passions, being crucified in humbleness and obedience to the Cross. It isn’t as dramatic but who said there isn’t power in that?
Please pray for Fr. Botros’ safety, the Godly work he is doing, and pray for those touched by the message of Jesus Christ. These new Christians have not only accepted the Gospel but the heavy weight of possible martyrdom.