Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Good Suffering"

"For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing." 1 Peter 3:17

Nobody like to suffer, especially when they didn't do anything wrong. If I do something wrong and suffer for it, though I don't like it, I accept it- I brought it on myself by my own actions. But what about suffering for doing something right, for doing something good, for doing something moral? How do you handle it then- when you suffer for well doing?

From the beginning of time, people have suffered- and not because they always did something bad but also for doing something good. The Old Testament saints as well as the New Testament saints suffered because they did what was right- refusing to do what was wrong. Many Christians in other countries today are suffering because they preach the gospel of Jesus Christ- what's bad or evil about that. We are beginning to see it in our country. I get emails all the time about Christians being under attack. They are being fined, being sent to jail, being mocked, being rejected- not for doing something evil, but because they stood for the truth and for righteousness.

God's thoughts toward suffering is so foreign to the way we look at it. While none of us like to suffer, we don't mind it as much if we deserve it, but if we don't deserve it because we didn't do anything wrong- well, that's a different story. When God looks at suffering, He would prefer that we suffer for doing what's right instead of for doing what's wrong.

We might possibly see an increase of this in the future- false and unjust accusations when we are doing something good. If so, how will you act and react? How will you handle suffering? Will you handle it well only if it is justified? Will you handle it with grace and in a way that reflects the Christ in you? Will you handle it like the sinners? Will you handle it like Christ, our example? "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." (1 Peter 3:14,16) "Who, when he [Jesus] was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." (1 Peter 2:23) "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:11,12)

Have a great day. How do you handle suffering when it is not justified?

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