As I wrote in The Scars of Communism (https://europeanfaithmissions.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/the-scars-of-communism/), just before coming on this trip to Hungary and Romania, I opened the box of books that I had gotten out of storage after a year, and the book at the very top was “Tortured for Christ” by Richard Wurmbrand. The things suffered by Pastor Wurmbrand and the rest of the Underground Church really moved me. After all, I could have been born in a Communist country, and had to suffer for my faith, too.
And in The Wild Life (https://europeanfaithmissions.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/the-wild-life/) I wrote:
Today there was a conference for the seniors of the church, at which Pastor H. Koraćs Gėza spoke. I was told that I would have about five minutes to speak to them. So of course I prayed about it, and here’s what I said:
Looking out here at all the gray hair, I am aware that many of you and your parents kept your faith in Christ under the oppressive rule of the atheistic Communists. I have two things to say to you: First, I am deeply sorry that my country believed the lies of the Communists and did nothing to help you. Secondly, I know that someday you will trade your silver crowns for gold crowns. I am here to honor you for your faithful service to your Lord and mine.
To the young people here I say: learn from these elders, and share the love of Christ with everyone you know.
And finally, I would like to thank Pastor Gėza for coming. It is an honor to meet you.
When Pastor Gėza returned to the platform, he observed that Christianity had actually flourished and grown under Communist oppression. He said that Christianity now faces a far more dangerous enemy in the form of complacency. I believe he’s right.
It is the danger of complacency in Eastern Europe is that it is following the same pattern that makes Western Europe such a difficult mission field. Complacency has caused Western Europe to evolve from nominal Christianity through religious disconnection, cynicism, and xenophobia to become the secular, materialistic, humanistic, hedonistic, nihilistic, hopeless, suicidal people they’ve become, seeking answers in drugs and alcohol, Eastern Philosophies, Witchcraft, and Satanism. Is it any wonder that abortion and human trafficking thrives in such an environment? In Switzerland it is now possible to request physician-assisted suicide without any physical illness.
The most frightening thing of all is that the United States is following the unfortunate pattern of Europe.
What does complacency look like? Complacency looks like Christianity, but lacks the power of the Holy Spirit, or as the Apostle Paul put it: “having a form of godliness but denying its power,” (2 Timothy 3:5). Complacency seeks answers and help through human means instead of looking to God as the Source of all things. Complacency seeks its own comfort instead of God’s way.
When Jesus says, “Follow Me,” Complacency answers, “But I have family responsibilities,” (Matthew 8:21).
When Jesus says, “Follow Me,” Complacency answers, “OK, but let me say goodbye to my family,” (Luke 9:61).
When Jesus says, “Follow Me,” Complacency answers, “But it’s dangerous,” (John 12:25-26).
When Jesus says, “Follow Me” Complacency answers, “But the food there is gross! I can’t sleep on the floor! There’s no electricity! No internet! No phone signal!” (Matthew 8:19-20).
Complacency makes all sorts of excuses for not following Jesus, and some of them seem appropriate and valid. But there are missionaries all around the world who have said yes to Jesus even though it meant leaving family responsibilities, saying goodbye to family, going into danger, eating disgusting food, sleeping on the floor, without electricity, internet or phone.
But Complacency is worse than that. Complacency doesn’t want to rock the boat by bringing Jesus into the school or the workplace. Complacency believes in the separation of church and state. Complacency won’t even talk about Jesus at parties with friends, for fear of offending someone.
Because of these attitudes, Jesus is no longer welcome in our schools or workplaces; Biblical Christianity has no say in lawmaking; and political correctness has become more important in American society than the salvation of souls. Those people that you’re so worried about offending need to hear the Good News that Jesus died for them. And the person you know with the hardest heart is someone who desperately needs Jesus.
Jesus was meek and gentle, and offensive to the people who rejected Him and His free offer of salvation. He never backed down from telling the truth. He is our Perfect Example, and like Him, we need to be ready to “offend” people with the truth. But to do that, we’ve got to step out of our comfort zone. We’ve got to give up comfortable Complacency. We’ve got to pick up our cross and follow Him, even when that leads us away from family and friends. And to do that we’ve got to trust God.
Here’s one last thought: Have you ever read the list of the people who are going to hell in Revelation 21:8? “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars —they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” Look who leads the list: not the murderers, not idolaters, but the cowardly! Many times throughout the Bible we are encouraged to be strong, bold, and courageous. Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels,” (Mark 8:38).