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I’ve been reading a very powerful book, Tortured for Christ, which is a testimony from a follower of Jesus who suffered immensely in Romania after the communist takeover. Originally published 30 years ago, it is still very powerful. Richard Wurmbrand was a faithful servant of Christ in the Underground Church during that time that suffered immensely for Jesus.

“In the prison of Gherla, a Christian named Grecu was sentenced to be beaten to death. The process last a few weeks during which he was beaten very slowly. He would be hit once at the bottom of the feet with a rubber club, and then left. After some minutes he would again be hit, after another few minutes again. He was beaten on the testicles. Then the doctor gave him an injection. He recovered and was given very good food to restore his strength, and then he was beaten again, until he eventually died under this slow, repeated beating. One who led this torture was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, whose name was Reck.

“During the beatings, Reck said something to Grecu that the Communists often said to Christians, “You know, I am God. I have power of life and death over you. The one who is in heaven cannot decide to keep you in life. Everything depends upon me. If I wish, you live. If I wish, you are killed. I am God!” So he mocked the Christian.

“Brother Grecu, in this horrible situation, gave Reck a very interesting answer, which was heard afterward from Reck himself. He said, “You don’t know what a deep thing you have said. Every caterpillar is in reality a butterfly, if it develops rightly. You have not been created to be a torturer, a man who kills. You have been created to become like God, with the life of the Godhead in your heart. Many who have been persecutors like you, have come to realize—like the apostle Paul—that it is shameful for a man to commit atrocities, that they can do much better things. So they have become partakers of the divine nature. Jesus said to the Jews of His time, ‘Ye are gods.’ Believe me, Mr. Reck, your real calling is to be Godlike—to have the character of God, not a torturer.

“At that moment Reck did not pay much attention to the words of his victim, as Saul of Tarsus did not pay attention to the beautiful witness of Stephen being killed in his presence. But those words worked in his heart. And Reck later understood that this was his real calling.”

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