When Western Christians hear about the persecution of believers in other parts of the world, their response sometimes comes from behind rose colored glasses that diminish the depth of the tragedy that is playing out on the other side of the globe.
1) The first misperception that occurs is the assumption that those believers who are being persecuted are heroic, and must have much stronger faith than the well-off person reading about their plight on the newest model iPhone. I suspect that there is an semi-unconscious train of thought that goes something like, “Oh, they are so brave to face this persecution. I could never face that. But since they are so brave and spiritual, they’ll be fine despite the persecution.” Of course, there are brave and heroic believers who stand up for Christ and the Gospel in many parts of the world. Praise God for their bold testimony! But there are also many normal believers, immature Christians, and nominal church goers who bear the brunt of anti-Christian violence. They don't all stand up to the threats very well. Their story flashes across global media like a shooting star and then disappears, but they still struggle and live in fear and anxiety long after you’ve clicked “Share.” And sometimes the intimidation works. They stay silent about their faith, compromise, or flee. And that brings me to my second point.