Hebrews 13:3 “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them, and those who are mistreated, since you yourselves are in the body also.”
About a week from now, the communist, atheist nation of North Korea will celebrate its 69th anniversary of its founding, which all began when the Soviet Red Army liberated northern Korea after World War II. Russia repopulated northern Korea with many of the communists who had left Korea under Japan’s rule. Only two years after North Korea’s birth they invaded the south with the backing of Red China and Russia. How was North Korea stopped? American defense of liberty. We stopped them. We turned them back.
It should come as no surprise that now, 69 years later, the same Communist dictatorship in North Korea has made it clear to this new generation of Americans that they have not changed – they are as Godless, aggressive and militant as ever. But now, it isn’t only South Korea and Japan who are in danger. North Korea has the nuclear capability today to hit Alaska, California, and Oregon. Americans are in danger.
While there are several top headlines diverting our attention from the growing aggression of North Korea (the tragedy in Houston from Hurricane Harvey, the media frenzy over white nationalism and racism in America, the battle over illegal aliens and immigration, to name a few), the growing threat of North Korean aggression against South Korea, Japan and the United States is becoming much more real.
This past Tuesday, global tensions ratcheted up again when North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile) across Japan. Kim Jong Un has regularly tested it’s missile program by flying them into the sea between North Korea and Japan. But now a missile invaded Japanese air space. President Trump responded with a strong message: "The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signalled its contempt for its neighbours, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour. Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world.”
While we know of North Korea’s nuclear threat, do we know it is the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian? The annual World Watch List report from Open Doors, a non-profit organization monitoring and serving persecuted Christians around the globe, explains why North Korea earned this #1 ranking: “In this totalitarian communist state, Christians are forced to hide their faith completely from government authorities, neighbors and often their own families. Due to ever-present surveillance, many pray with eyes open, and gathering for praise or fellowship is practically impossible. Worship of the ruling Kim family is mandated for all citizens, and those who don’t comply are arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed. Entire Christian families are imprisoned in hard labor camps, where unknown numbers die each year from torture, beatings, overexertion and starvation. Those who attempt to flee to South Korea through China risk execution or life imprisonment, and those who stay behind often fare no better.”
Open Doors points to Communist Oppression and Dictatorial Paranoia (where Leader Kim Jong Un demands worship as a god) as the two main “engines” of persecution of believers in Jesus Christ face in North Korea, giving several stories of what Christians suffer under the atheistic regime of Un. One such story is Kim Sang-Hwa: “I remember waking up one night when I was six. Our house was very small, so we all slept in the same room. I saw my father and mother under the blanket and I could hear the soft noise of the radio. They were listening to a broadcast from a Christian radio station. My discovery could cost me my life. I was afraid to touch their Bible, but I couldn’t just leave it there. I weighed my options. Should I tell my teacher? Should I visit the local security official? For fifteen days I couldn’t think about anything else.
I knew it was my duty to report this illegal book. But it was my family. And I also had all these questions: ‘Who is this God? Finally, I had the guts to ask my father. He sat next to me and explained the story of creation. My mother explained the full Gospel to me. My grandfather showed me how to pray. My father spoke a lot about Jesus’ Second Coming. He really longed for that. I also read the Bible for myself. My father prayed in whispers: ‘Father, help the North Korean people to seek your Kingdom first’”.
As our verse this week reminds us, we as Christians must remember that North Korea is more than a nuclear threat to American safety. It is a godless nation where the Spirit of our God is alive and active, reaching out to them with the Gospel. We must pray for more than the safety of America. We must pray for our brothers and sisters who, although mistreated and in chains, are standing for Jesus Christ.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.