Humanitarian agencies consider the Islamic government’s targeting of civilians in the Nuba Mountains, which has a large Christian population, an “ethnic cleansing” against non-Arab peoples in the multi-ethnic state, with the added incentive of ridding the area of Christians, he said.

“These people are doing everything possible to make sure they get rid of Christianity from the Nuba Mountains – churches and church schools are the targets of both the Sudanese Armed Forces and its militias,” the aid worker said, although mosques have also been targeted.

And in Great Britain a Christian doctor has allegedly been dismissed for sending a famous prayer of St. Ignatius to his colleagues to encourage them (at least that is part of the story).

So is it fun to be a follower of Jesus? No. It never has been. Jesus told his disciples exactly that just before his death. Although from the beginning there have always been ways of compromising with the perpetrators in order to minimise harm. But Jesus showed a different way.

His death was specifically for the benefit of those who hated him. He came to save the world that rejected and opposed him. And those who love him? Who get attacked because they belong to him?

They are his agents, to bring back the enemies God loves. He has left them behind to carry on his work. But he has not left them alone. He has sent his Spirit to work in and through them. He has given them a powerful message that saves enemies and turns haters into friends.