In our last blog, we quoted 1 Peter 2:18-24 within the context of our relationship with human governments and authorities. In this passage Peter tells us if we suffer when do wrong it is of no benefit to us. However, if we suffer unjustly it is a gracious thing (other translations say it is commendable) in God’s eyes. Peter uses Jesus as an example. Jesus did not retaliate when he was persecuted but endured his suffering.
What kind of God do we serve who thinks it is commendable to suffer? Why does God think that suffering is good for us? It almost sounds as if God is sadistic.
However, focusing on the suffering aspect is placing the emphasis in the wrong place. Notice that he does not say we will suffer for our beliefs but for our actions. What God requires of us is that we live our lives in a certain way. He requires that our soul is changed so it becomes like him.
When we live our lives as God would have us live, we will encounter those who do not follow God’s way and this will produce a conflict. If these individuals have power over us they can do things that are detrimental, or at least not beneficial, to us. The normal human response is to retaliate in some fashion. If we retaliate then we become like those who persecute us and we become less like God. However, God desires that we continue to do what is right even when we encounter opposition. If we suffer as a result, our actions and the resultant suffering we endure are commendable to God.
The only way this world will change is if we each practice our faith even when it costs us. How many of us have suffered because of our faith?