Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and a Question of Martyrdom

[su_quote]”It’s just words. I’m sure that God will understand it if she denies [her faith] so she can save her life. He knows that lives are more important than just words. If she doesn’t and they kill her because of it, that’s on her.“[/su_quote]

meriam-yehya-ibrahimWho’s a Fanatic?

As I sat in on the discussion about current events, which was particularly on Christian persecution in Sudan and Nigeria, I was absolutely amazed and appalled to be hearing this. I wasn’t at some college campus’ open forum, or at some sociology lecture. I was visiting a church, sitting in an adult Sunday school class, and I’m pretty sure (from previous conversation) that the man saying this was in some sort of leadership position in the church.

I pushed back, lightly – I was just a visitor – and reminded them of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow the knee to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden bunny statue.

Unfazed. Someone else spoke up and agreed, saying that she was also putting her husband and children in danger and she was just being a – and I am absolutely quoting – “a fanatic.”

Giving Up What?

I paused and thought about my own dear children; I can understand the pull to roll over, to give up and to renounce publicly my faith in Jesus to save my wife, daughter and son pain and loss. But, as dear as they are to me, I couldn’t. I would not.

I think. I hope.

[su_quote cite=”Matthew 24:13″]But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.[/su_quote]

Honestly, failing to embrace immediate martyrdom, or to face the threat well – as my faithful Sudanese sister in Christ did — I can get that. Looking death in the eye can be scary, even for one whose faith is placed in the One who conquered death itself.

But, plainly planning to give up. Being downright flaccid to the point on plotting out not only your own treachery, but blaming others for not doing so. It feels clearly damnable, in every possible sense.

Peter, Judas and _____

When Jesus says to the apostles after the Last Supper, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered,’” imagine if Peter said,[su_quote cite=”faux Matthew 24:13″] “Of course we’ll run away. If we don’t run away,  it’s on us if they catch us, too. God will know that we still really believe in Him, our lives are more important than this. And, you Jesus, your life is way more important. If you don’t run away or fight, you my old friend are a fanatic and you deserve whatever you get!”[/su_quote]

Now, of course, Peter didn’t run away, he stood and fought. But, after the heat of the moment died down, he denied Jesus again and again just to leverage a warm place around a trash fire built by some slaves to keep themselves warm. Even if he didn’t want to.

I’m glad to hear that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim’s ordeal is over (for now). I have no idea how she would continue living in Sudan, I guess once you stare down martyrdom there’s far less to be afraid of.

I don’t know what happens when someone faces martyrdom and denies true faith. There was repentance for Peter. Would there have been for Judas?

Would there be for a treacherous Sunday School “Christian”?


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