Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Realizing How Precious Religious Freedom Is After It Is Taken Away

I've reached the point in "A Valiant Effort" where I had to choose whether or not I would please God or man.  On Kosrae, 90% of the people went to the Congregational Church.  Quite frankly, if you weren't Congregational, you weren't Kosraean.  However, I found out a lot about what their particular branch taught and discovered that it did not match what Christ taught in the Bible.  So I had a decision to make:

A) Compromise my faith and keep going to please my community, or

B) Pursue a church which taught the true gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ and suffer whatever social consequences would follow. 

I chose the latter and discovered firsthand what it was like to be persecuted for your faith.  When I came back to America, I had developed a new appreciation for religious freedom.

God gave us free will and, for that reason, no one should be forced to conform to a religion which they don't believe in.  I don't force Christianity on anybody and nobody should force their religious views on me.  I thank God that I live in a country where I can worship wherever I want.  I am also grateful that I know firsthand what it is like to have that freedom taken away so that I can appreciate it more.  One of my hopes is that, through reading my book, people who have freedom of religion in their countries understand just how valuable that right is and never take it for granted.  If they realize just how precious it is, then they will have the resolve to do whatever it takes to keep it.   

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