:: CHALLENGE POINT ::
Through persecution the message was spread farther and more rapidly. One of our church fathers, Tertullian, in the 2nd century said, “The blood of Christians is the seed of the church". This was an act of God's mercy allowing for miracles, signs, and wonders to continue in a very powerful way. Remember, this was all spawned by the tremendous perse-cution that the church was experiencing. Persecution for the faith causes more attention to be drawn to that cause, and thus the reason persecution can be very effective. People tend to be more sympathetic to the underdog. The church has always been responsible to show mercy and to take care of the needs of those who are hurting and oppressed. This was an act of mercy that the church began to show to the culture. This was the first evidence, if you will, of social justice where people came to help with mercy and God's love and God's Word. The essence of vision for this church, and I believe for any church, is to be the merciful church: To show mercy where there is no mercy, to show kindness where there is no kindness, to show love where there is no love.
You can do this as you temper your actions to not be so self-centered, and remember that life does not always revolve around you. Tempering your actions so that others, especially the less fortunate or those who are hungry to seek after God's righteousness, can thus come to salvation. How are you showing acts of mercy, listening to the pain of someone close to you, managing constructive criticism with a certain amount of praise and affirming love, instead of criticizing and condemning? Acts of mercy find a church to be following the teaching of Jesus. If you want God's blessing in your life, then begin to show acts of mercy to those around you.