For years, he had lived in a country whose rulers took a dim, even intolerant, view of Christianity. Now, he lived in a country whose Christians lived in freedom and in relative comfort, and he was appalled. To him, these Christians seemed casual about their commitment, preoccupied with position and possessions, contaminated by the world. And he bluntly said so to a friend.
Some time later, he visited the friend to whom he had stated his opinion about the Christians. He asked if his friend remembered his words and his bitter criticism. The friend remembered.
The man stood silent for a few moments, and the friend tensed for a second attack.
“I have come to apologize both for what I said and for the way in which I said it,” he said. “I did not know how dangerous freedom could be for Christians. I have been here for a year now. And I am worse than those I criticized.”
He paused in reflection; then he added a significant statement: “It is more difficult to live the Christian life under freedom than under repression.”
Taken by permission and adapted from “Legacy of a Pack Rat,” by Ruth Bell Graham. ©1989 The Ruth Bell Graham Literary Trust.