by Chris Banescu –
“If you never chase God out of your house, your soul, and your heart, it is the last and greatest martyrdom.” ~ Fr. Calistrat Chifan
We often think of Christian martyrs as men and women who lived long ago and courageously gave up their lives in defense of their faith. We think of saints and disciples who were fed to the lions, tortured, maimed, burned alive, dismembered, or slaughtered for proclaiming Christ as Lord and Savior or refusing to renounce Christianity. We also witness similar modern day martyrdom of Christians living in the Middle East. Like their ancient brethren these innocents are shot, decapitated, raped, tortured, blown up, burned alive, and murdered for simply being Christian or daring to publicly proclaim the Gospel.
Few of us would think of modern Christians living in North or South America, Europe, Russia, Asia, or other parts of the world, where there’s no official government persecution or widespread Islamic oppression of the faithful, as doing anything worthy of the title “martyr.” We have freedom and religious liberty to worship God as citizens or residents of secular democracies or constitutional republics, where Christianity is either protected (in Russia, Romania, and a few other Eastern European countries) or tolerated, at least for now (in other Western countries). [Read more…]