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In communist Romania there was a very young man named Matchevici who had been put into prison because of his faith at the age of 18. Because of the tortures, he was very sick with tuberculosis. Somehow his family found out that he was sick and sent him a hundred bottle so streptomycin, which could make the difference between life and death. The political officer called him and showed the package saying, “Here is the medicine that can save your life. But you are not allowed to have packages from your family. Personally, I would like to help you. You are young. I would not like for you to die in prison. Help me to be able to help you! Give me information against your fellow prisoners and this will enable me to justify before my superiors why I gave you the package.

Matchevici answered, “I don’t wish to remain alive and be ashamed to look in a mirror, because I will see the face of a traitor. I cannot accept such a condition. I prefer to die.” The officer of the secret police shook Matchevici’s hand and said, “I congratulate you. I didn’t expect any other answer from you. But I would like to make another proposal. Some of the prisoners have become our informers. They claim to be Communist and they are denouncing you. They play a double role. We have no confidence in them. We would like to know in what measure they are sincere. Toward you they are traitors who are doing you much harm, informing us about your words and deeds. I understand that you don’t want to betray your comrades. But give us information about those who oppose you so you will save your life!”

This is reasonable. After all, these spineless fools are traitors and they deserve what they have coming to them. After all, this is to save my life and I could do a lot of good yet for God’s kingdom, right? For some of us, we might even think that this is a no brainer. Think about the person who has hurt you so badly. Think of the person who said this or did that. Especially if you knew that they weren’t a Christian, this wouldn’t be that bad.

Matchevici answered as quickly as before, “I am a disciple of Christ and He has taught us to love even our enemies. The men who betray us do us much harm but I cannot reward evil with evil. I cannot give information even against them. I pity them. I pray for them. I don’t wish to have any connection with the Communists.”

Matchevici went back to his cell and died there. He died there praising God as love conquered even the natural thirst for life.

It is easy to follow Jesus when there is nothing to lose. I wonder if we would have the same type of commitment to Jesus’ ways if we were really called to count the cost of discipleship. Would we really value the kingdom God above everything in this world including life itself? I wonder. I wonder.

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