We can't ignore it: Christians are being persecuted all around the world.
Just the other week, ISIS released a video depicting masked men beheading 21 Egyptian Christians. American citizen, Kayla Mueller, was also killed at the hands of ISIS.
And here's the thing: the persecution doesn't begin and end with ISIS. It's occurring in other regions around the world as well. Take North Korea for example, which has been ranked as the number one country where Christians face the most persecution. In North Korea, there are between 50,000-70,000 Christians imprisoned in labor camps.
Persecution is everywhere. And we shouldn't just care because these are fellow Christians being killed and imprisoned; we should care because these are humans facing undeserved cruelty at the hands of other humans.
If you're like me, you know persecution is bad, but much of your inaction about the problem stems from not knowing practical ways to help. Because you don't know how to make a difference, you don't.
Persecution is a large problem, but it's not an unsolvable problem. It's not too big of a problem that we can't help. Fortunately, there are many ways for us to be actively involved in the healing of these wrongs. Here are just a few of them:
1. Educate yourself
You can't actively contribute to a solution if you don't know what problem it is you're trying to solve.
You see, many people attempt to stop persecution because it's the right thing to do, but not many people understand the struggles persecuted Christians are facing. There is a large divide between the American church and the persecuted church. Because of this, we might fall into the tendency of giving without caring or praying without caring -- simply because we can't sympathize with them from our current vantage point. In other words, our heart will not be in the problem; and when our heart is absent, we tend to stop caring once we don't see immediate results. You can't make a change when people give up for not seeing immediate results.
Making a difference is a slow process, which means you need to be committed to the solution if you're going to follow along with the cause. You need to put your heart into it.
If you're going to cultivate a heart of passion and concern for persecuted Christians, you must educate yourself on what's going on. Subscribe to news channels and get the update on what persecuted Christians are facing. The best resource I use for educating myself is www.opendoorsusa.com.
When I was in college, I didn't like praying for issues because it felt like I was doing nothing. I would rather go out on the streets and scream something to make people listen, rather than praying for people to listen. But during this time, I found that outside of prayer, I was doing nothing for the problems.
Truth is, praying is always the solution, because without it, you would be doing nothing but sitting on your butt about problems you're removed from. Prayers are able to go where you aren't. Prayers are able to help in ways you can't. Prayers are how you actively make a difference across the world.
3. Write letters
I don't think we need to write letters purely to be read. What I mean is, we can write letters to mourn, sympathize, and voice emotions we don't have the words for. Writing letters can help put you in the place of the Christians you're writing to. It helps you feel the problem in ways you can't where you are. You can deliver them to persecuted Christians, or you can write them for your own sake -- to better place your heart with the persecuted Christians. Try this as a small group activity, with friends, or by yourself, and you can decide whether to send your letter in or not.
4. Don't feel guilty you aren't being persecuted
When many people talk about persecution, a weird thing happens in their speech. They take on a tone that conveys their personal guilt for not being in that certain situation, or for not understanding or doing anything.
But here's the thing: the moment you feel guilt for persecuted Christians is the moment you make the issue about you and not them. That's a paralysis. It can keep you still and inactive about what's really the problem. And worst of all, it can distract others around you instead of motivating them to action.
Understand that you are where you are for a reason, and that reason is a blessing. And you know what you do with blessings? You use them to bless others. Use the fact that you're not being persecuted as a reason to help those who are being persecuted.
5. Volunteer your skills
A wonderful thing happens once Christians use their giftings to help save the world: they collaborate with each other and create a cohesive force for good. In other words, they volunteer their specialty to aid the effort.
What does this mean? Well if you're a videographer, you might use your skills to create an informative movie about the issue. If you're a great connector, you might connect people to resources that help persecuted Christians. If you have a presence on Capitol Hill, you might influence leaders to take action. Whatever you do, you might make the most impact by looking to what your skills might offer first.
Persecution is an immense problem, but the more people we have taking small, practical steps toward change, the greater our impact is. Decide how you want to help persecuted Christians and help save the world.
This article originally appeared on JesusHacks, a website providing practical solutions for living like Jesus today.