We are all lucky because we do not have to go through the same form of persecution that some Japanese Christians had to endure long ago. Back in ancient Japan, Christian believers were tortured and killed just because of their faith in God. It surprised me to read about martyrdom through the ages because it has been so vicious and cruel. When St. Francis Xavier went to Japan, he planted the seed of Christianity well into the minds and hearts of Japanese people. So well in fact, that it grew to great numbers. The believers increased to two hundred thousand strong and that alarmed the authorities. Deviating from the religion that they were used to, these numbers were seen as a threat. Many were punished and tortured to death.
Today we are faced with a different kinds of torture. The media, the people, and the ways of the community are constantly enticing us to deviate from the teachings of Christianity. We may not be physically tortured but we are constantly tried. We do not need to run away from soldiers, but we need to keep away from the things that break our souls and weaken our faith. Read more from an inspiring blog post featured on Crisis Magazine called Lessons Drawn From The Japanese Martyrs. Of course, martyrdom has existed since even earlier than ancient Japan. However, my main point was to show that martyrdom has existed for a long time, and despite its changing form it will exist forever.