While reflecting on the tragic Umpqua Community College shooting, Pastor Greg Laurie from Harvest Ministries thought about the great strength and bravery it must have taken the students to confirm that they were truly Christians, even if it meant that they would be shot to death.
"Imagine — being at the business end of a semi-automatic weapon and being asked the question, 'Are you a Christian?' You know that if you tell the truth, this will most likely not end well for you. But what other alternative is there? Deny what and who you know is true?" he reflected in an article he wrote for The Christian Post.
This must have been the incredibly difficult decision that tore the hearts and minds of the nine individuals who lost their lives that day when the "twisted" shooter gunned them down because of their faith.
The killer, who expressed such a violent hatred towards Christians, reportedly left a note that he would be "welcomed in hell and embraced by the devil."
But Laurie does not think so. "I can assure you that he will get far worse than he wished for in the afterlife. There will be no welcome and no embrace. Just darkness and separation from God," he said.
Laurie said people often read about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS. But with the Oregon college shooting, he said Christian persecution has finally reached America.
It can get difficult for Christians to decide if they should retreat, blend in, or keep quiet about the things they feel so strongly about. But Laurie urged Christians to be brave in light of these attacks, stand their ground, and speak their faith.
"Events like this can be frightening, I know. But remember this: Each of these courageous believers was welcomed into Heaven by the Lord," he said. "There will be times when a conversation may turn to spiritual issues, and we will remain silent about our faith out of fear of possibly being embarrassed if the others do not agree with us. We need to understand that to not confess Christ can be a form of denying Him."
As tragic as the recent attack in Oregon was, Laurie encouraged Christians to be inspired by the courage displayed by those who proudly stood up for their faith despite the consequence of death.
"Considering that these brave souls would not deny their faith, even at the threat of death, how much more should we be bold in our faith and speak up for Jesus?" he said.