Persecution for faith is not uncommon, but God blesses those who suffer for righteousness
1 Peter 3:13 – 3:18
13 And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 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.
17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Persecution has been a common experience in Christianity ever since the apostles first proclaimed the message of salvation. Even in places that have been blessed with a long period of peace and prosperity, there is no guarantee how long that will continue. And though we may never face severe repercussions like imprisonment or death for our beliefs, we’ve probably all felt the sting of rejection or ridicule. Whatever form the harassment may take, we should all be prepared to suffer for Christ.
Peter wrote to a group of believers who were treated harshly because of their faith. His goal was to offer encouragement and a reminder to follow Christ’s example: Though sinless, He suffered in our place to bring us to God. And while the crowd at the cross mocked Him, He never responded harshly. Instead, He patiently suffered in full submission to His Father, “entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).
Without this perspective, we could quickly descend into self-pity or angry resentment when we’re mistreated. But Peter reminds us that we are blessed when we suffer for the sake of righteousness. Not only will we receive a reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12), but we may also have an opportunity to gently and reverently be a witness for Christ.
A wise response to persecution flows from an accurate understanding of God’s ways. Unfair suffering is sometimes a part of His will for us, just as it was for Christ. But we can trust our Father, knowing that He can work every situation for our good and His glory.
In Touch Ministries