While our government debates the issues of Brexit (!), Tony highlighted to me earlier in the week that in China, they are increasingly using financial rewards to encourage citizens to report religious meetings or evangelism which are not officially recognised by the state: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/china-promises-financial-rewards-for-reporting-christians/ . To make it easy for people to report, there are many ways provided: there are boxes in some towns labelled “Religious belief reporting box,” as well as free-phone hotlines, a website, email or postal addresses. The practice is not just against Christians but against sects too. The result for the “offender” can be imprisonment or fines and the clearing out of any premises.
Jesus said “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5v11-12)
How would I feel if I knew that my neighbours, work colleagues, friends could snitch on me? We are very privileged to live in the freedom we have: let’s not misuse our freedom. The Christians in China risk financial loss, imprisonment and even death to keep God’s commands to “meet together” (Hebrews 9v25) and “make disciples” (Matthew 28v19). Jesus was prepared to give everything for our salvation and said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16v24). It would seem that the Christians in parts of China, as they gather together and witness to others, understand these words!
May our priorities be like Christ’s priorities who gave his life for us,
With much blessing,