What Would The Martyrs Say: My Belated Follow-Up to the WWJD Craze

Universally, the most popular jewelry for anyone of any social status for the last several years has been the rubber bracelet. Twelve year olds, rock stars, preachers and presidents can be seen the world over wearing otherwise commonplace jewelry which is specific to their position with the exception of a simple colored band. This relatively new construct has ensured that we all wear our hearts on our wrist (if not our sleeves). I actually like this idea. In some cases it has become as easy as glancing down as you shake hands with a new acquaintance to discover what matters the most to them. Yet, before Lance Armstrong exploded the fad into a phenomenon many church-going teenagers could be seen (particularly in the late 90′s) with, the now institutionalized, WWJD bracelet. What would Jesus do? A fascinating, but basic question. However, it recently occurred to me that a similar question might retain more potency for the modern believer. “WWTMS?” I know, I know. It has one too many syllables to really catch on. But I would ask “What Would The Martyrs Say?” Naturally, for a Christian the questions of what Christ himself would think or do in a given situation should be paramount. The problem is that the details of our Savior’s death, burial and resurrection (not to mention His teachings) have become so commonplace to His followers that whether we like it or not many of us have become desensitized to the whole matter.

Famously, the church father Turtullian claimed that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Put flatly, the willingness of early believers to die for the veracity of their claims spurned on the growth of the church. They took it seriously. They spoke boldly. When and how they were killed spoke volumes to others. We would not have the message, the scripture, the numbers or the history that we know have, if it were not for their sacrifice. Our Christian heritage is priceless.

This all occurred to me recently when I was talking to a friend and he mentioned that if someone has unchristian beliefs they simply “appreciate the diversity” of their circle of friends. “I’m just not the type of person to discuss, debate or try to convince others that my faith is right” they said, and then followed up, “I’m not what I would call liberal, but I’m probably not conservative either.” Wow! It is true that with statements like that, you will have a large and diverse community of friends. You would also be welcome to say something like that on The View. Katie Couric might even give you a welcoming nod and wink of approval from behind her desk at CBS Evening News. But ask yourself, “WWTMS?”

Our spiritual ancestors bled and died grisly deaths so that we could know the way of salvation and have communion with the Messiah. What would they have to say to comments such as those mentioned above. After being devoured by lions, sewn into burlap bags filled with venomous serpents before being cast into the sea, or beheaded by some gladiator, I doubt they would share such sentiments. Before you click the address bar to navigate away from this page and look at youtube videos of cute puppies, or head off to that trendy coffee shop, stop and consider what this means. Ask yourself the question, “Do I take my faith seriously?”

By the way, “Live Strong!”