If they persecute you in one town take refuge in the next! Matthew 10: 16-23

The considerate Jesus was also sensitive to the plight of his followers thus he provided an opportunity for his disciples so that wanton waste of Christian lives, hysterical and fanatical enthusiasm could be checked.

There was a general belief and desire to bear authentic witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ during the period of persecution of Christians and so some people courted martyrdom.

Even though it is noble to die for the faith, however, the counsel of Jesus implies that life is precious especially that of a Christian and should not be recklessly, pointlessly and needlessly wasted when there is an opportunity to preserve it by doing the needful.

In this wise there are some apparent martyrdoms that are merely suicidal. Self constituted or inflicted martyrdom is no martyrdom ‘qua tale’. There is more heroism in daring to flee from danger than in stopping to meet it.

There was a slogan that was repeated as a creed in my high school days (CIC, Enugu) “If you see trouble, escape!”
Also, there was a time in Enugu state when young men where randomly picked by the police and put behind bars for any slightest reason thus young people developed a slogan “Vuum ka statement mma”, ‘It is better to run than to give statements in the police station!’

There are times when inactions would be wiser than actions, and when to escape was wiser than attack. It is wiser to avoid needless arguments over doubtful things when one is weak in faith or weak in defending one’s position.

William Barclay would counsel ” If we are susceptible to a certain temptation we will do well to avoid the places where that temptation will speak to us and not to frequent them”.

It is prudent to avoid companies and associations that lead us astray than to court them. It is also another way of avoiding the occasions of sin. We must avoid structures and environments that could lead us to sin.

The above does not translate to cowardice or lack of courage in bearing witness to Christ, it should be rather viewed from the point of view of the Igbo ” Nganga ka okenye ji agbara anya ehi oso”. Literally translated as ‘He who runs from battle, lives to fight another day’.

PRAYER:May God grant us the prudence in bearing witness to Jesus Christ especially in our daily lives. Amen

May Almighty God bless and keep you; ✝ Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen

REV. FR. AMBROSE O. OFODILE
(ENUGU DIOCESE)

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