Last week I wrote about the witness that Christians often have with other prisoners while in jail. But as I was reading more in Richard Wurmbrand: The Man And His Work, by Merv Knight, I found that their witness goes much further.
In fact, it often goes to the deepest, darkest corners of the prison itself . . . to the evil men who are administering the torture, cruel punishments and even death.
Rev. Wurmbrand tells the story of an interaction he had with one prison guard who eventually came to saving faith. The prison guard said,
“Mr. Wurmbrand (he had not called me “Mr” before), how is it that you love me? I would never love someone who put me in prison and beat me up. How can you fulfil such a commandment of Christ?”
I answered, “I am not fulfilling a commandment by loving my enemies; Jesus has given me a new character, the main feature of which is love. Just as only water can flow out of a bottle of water, and only milk out of a bottle of milk, so only love can flow out of a loving heart.” ( pg. 42)
And this is only one of the many stories that Rev. Wurmbrand tells about his captors coming to Christ.
It reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s own story, that after he had been stripped of his garments, beaten with rods, thrown into prison and feet fastened with stocks, he had the grace necessary to pray, sing hymns and comfort the jailor after an earthquake. Paul said,
“Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:28-30)
In my own interactions with Christian friends, I’ve seen anger, outrage and downright hatred for the groups that are publicly killing people from different religious/political affiliations. One of my friends ended his Facebook rant with these words, “Send em all to hell!!!”
While I can certainly understand his sentiment, it stands in sharp contrast to the many Christians who are a witness to their enemies.
Now, you might feel that it is right for someone like Rev. Richard Wurmbrand to love his enemies, but that it is different for us Christians in the Western world. We are called to do something else . . . like maybe administer justice, organize protests . . . or something like that.
But remember what Rev. Richard Wurmbrand himself asked us to do in his book Tortured for Christ. He said,
Western Christians can help us by praying for the persecutors that they may be saved. Such a prayer may seem naive. We prayed for the Communists and they tortured us the next day even worse than before the prayer. But the prayer of the Lord in Jerusalem was also “naive.” They crucified Him after this prayer. But only a few days later, they beat their breasts and five thousand were converted in one day. (Tortured for Christ, 73).