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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | NOVEMBER 2022 EDITION
Persian Protests
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
NOVEMBER PRAYER PROMPT
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Published November 2022
By Roland Clarke


Photo by Artin Bakhan on Unsplash

Last week I attended a demonstration in London -- the fifth such rally in 6 weeks protesting recent atrocities committed by the Iranian regime. While participating in the human chain which formed along Richmond Street I got talking with some fellow demonstrators I shared a short thought provoking clip about the protest movement which goes like this:

The brutal killing of Mahsa Amini by the Iranian regime has triggered huge demonstrations and widespread outrage. Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg... The last few decades have seen the ruthless persecution and even the martyrdom of many Christians in Iran. Such intimidation, however, hasn't suppressed the truth. In fact, through God's mysterious working, the church has spread all the more. One explanation for this miracle is found in Bible prophecy (Jeremiah 49:34-39) and also referenced in a Persian proverb that calls to mind a paradoxical saying of Jesus ... read full article here: https://tinyurl.com/me8mmh9f


I've also shared these thoughts with some Iranian friends I've known for a few years. However, Persians aren't the only ones with strong feelings on these issues; other Canadians are also concerned, having seen headline stories detailing the atrocities and the protests happening around the world. Even our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau joined a protest in Ottawa on October 29th and promised to take a stronger stand.

If you read last month's article, Pondering a Paradoxical Proverb, you may recall an intriguing Cree proverb that goes like this; “When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced … Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” Believe it or not, this same proverb is known across the world in Persia/Iran, indeed, it is this same proverb which I alluded to in the clip above!

Discovering this made me wonder, if perhaps, other cultures have similar gems of wisdom. Let me share what I've learned. The virtue of 'giving rather than receiving' is evident in wise proverbial sayings around the world as seen in the following examples:
  • What you give away, you keep. Kurdish
  • Giving is not losing; it is keeping for tomorrow. Lozi, Zambia
  • To give is to save. Ndonga, Namibia
  • Every man goes down to his death bearing in his hands only that which he has given away. Persian
  • Giving much to the poor doth enrich a man's store. Romanian
  • He who does kind deeds becomes rich. Hindu
  • The generous man grows rich in giving, the miser poor in taking. Danish
  • The generous man enriches himself by giving; the miser hoards himself poor. Dutch
  • Charity gives itself rich, covetousness hoards itself poor. German
  • All that is not given is lost. Indian
  • A rich man's money often hangs him. English
  • Men would not be richer for being miserly; generosity does not make a man poorer. Jewish
  • The rich man who is stingy is the worst pauper. Jewish
  • If you do charity your house will always be rich. Arabic

We should not be surprised that generosity is recognized globally as a virtue. Three thousand years ago God gave exceptional wisdom to Solomon. As his reputation grew Scripture says, “From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.” 1 Kings 4:34 Many Solomonic proverbs were disseminated worldwide, no doubt influencing many of the proverbs that became part of other cultures. This certainly included Solomon's sayings on generosity, “Give freely and become more wealthy, be stingy and lose everything.” Proverbs 11:24

But then, along came Solomon's 'greater son', Jesus the Messiah, whose wise sayings surpassed even Solomon. On the one hand, Jesus endorsed the basic virtue of generosity but he also infused it with fuller and deeper meaning. As the time drew near for Jesus to be glorified, he taught this simple, if profound riddle, as alluded to in the earlier clip, “... unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25

Coming to know the Lord Jesus as Saviour and thus receiving eternal life is the answer to every person's deepest needs. We are thrilled that one Iranian family we have befriended for years has started attending church every Sunday. We're praying that they will soon decide to follow Jesus and accept God's gift of salvation.

In conclusion, let me encourage you to read the one and a half page article, Persian Protests, Prophecy and Proverbs.