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Listen while you read: "Kum Ba Yah My Lord"1 (Lyrics)

I don't know if Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Prize winner, is a Christian or not. If he isn't, he's putting on a pretty convincing, hard-to-follow act, giving us a fine example.

Mr. Liu first came to the notice of the Chinese authorities when, in 1989, he took part in the Tiananmen Square protests. At first, he rallied the students to stand their ground against the advancing might of the Chinese army. Then, faced with the prospect of bloodshed, he changed his mind and urged a peaceful withdrawal. Putting words into action, he helped destroy a machine gun that one of the protesters had brought into the square, and was credited thereby for saving many lives.

Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (NKJV)

Mr. Liu's reward for this was twenty months in a maximum security prison, before being released without charge. He was jailed again for six months in 1995 for calling on the government to investigate the Tiananmen massacre. Nine months later, he was sentenced to three more years in a labour camp for "disturbing the social order". He was freed in 1999, then convicted again in 2008 following publication of his Charter 08, a manifesto calling for democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression in China. This time he got eleven years, and started serving this sentence in 2009.

When sentenced in court, he responded by showing an open and forgiving heart to his accusers. He said, "I still want to tell the regime that deprives me of my freedom, I stand by the belief I expressed twenty years ago [on Tiananmen Square]. I have no enemies, and no hatred. None of the police who have monitored, arrested, and interrogated me, or the judges who sentence me, are my enemies. While I'm unable to accept your surveillance, arrest, prosecution, or sentencing, I respect your professions and personalities. (But) I do not feel guilty for following my constitutional right to freedom of expression, for fulfilling my social responsibility as a Chinese citizen. Even if accused of it, I would have no complaints."

Matthew 5:43-45 – You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (NKJV)

As I said, I don't know if Liu Xiaobo is a Christian. Perhaps the best answer is the one Jesus gave the scribe who had quoted the first and second commandments to Him:

Mark 12:34 – You are not far from the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

Prayer: Father in heaven, Liu Xiaobo is setting a fine example of what Jesus is all about. Grant, Father, that if any of us feels driven to the wall for Your sake, we, too, will have the courage of our convictions, the strength to endure patiently, and the charity to forgive those who persecute us. Sustain us all by your Holy Spirit. For if You are for us, who can stand against us? In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

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Robert Norminton <>
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

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