We do what we do often, if not all the time, because of our vision of God. Who is he? What does he want? What pleases Him or displeases Him? This is true even of atheists like Richard Dawkins who declared “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” The thinking says, “There’s no God, therefore…” What we do reflects our vision of God. Before the apostle Paul was a follower of Jesus, He was devote worshiper of God. But Paul’s understanding of who that God is drastically changed when he met Jesus, risen from the dead, while he was on his way to persecute worshipers of Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that even though he “was a blasphemer and a persecutor of the Church,” he was treated mercifully because he “acted in ignorance” (1 Timothy 1:13).
The fact of the matter is, Christians are persecuted because of what others believe about God, as much as we are persecuted because of what we believe about God. In one instance, a Muslim Father was beating his daughter nearly to death because she had decided to follow Jesus. He did this, not because he didn’t love her, but because it was what he thought God wanted from him since his daughter had become an “infidel”. Yet, he was deeply and tragically mistaken. He was convinced of this fact too when Jesus actually appeared to him with His arms around the daughter who was being beaten, waving His hand for the father to put the stick down which was being used to beat the girl. The father threw the stick down and immediately repented and was changed. This was a revelation of who God REALLY is. In Communist countries like Vietnam, Laos, North Korea and others, Christians are mercilessly treated because they are seen as enemies of the state. Communism is built upon the idea that there is no God and that those who believe in God are hindrances to the progressive advance of evolution, of which Communism is supposed to be the climax and the savior of humanity. By erasing God from the picture, Communism creates a vacuum which its’ dictators are only too ready to fill. Communism says, “there is no God” and therefore assumes God’s place of authority. The results are very grim. Communist dictators have been the some of the cruelest the world has ever known. Maybe the only way for people to see the true God of love is by His people being willing to suffer at the hands of their enemies and to love them in return.